Essential J-L Reader

The Jim Gaffigan Show: TV’s Funniest and Best Depiction…

With Veep‘s season over (please Silicon Valley people be quiet – SV is a very good comedy, but it is not in Veep‘s league), my binging of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt long over, no more OJ-themed TV shows on the horizon and Game of Thrones 10-500 months away from its seventh season, there was a major hole in my TV roster for great comedy and/or must-watch-TV.  However, those vacancies have been filled admirably and surprisingly by the 2nd season of The Jim Gaffigan Show, which to me, is the best and most satisfying depiction of stand up comedy that I have ever seen.

As far as depictions of stand up comedy (calm down Seinfeld people – that show featured a stand up comedian, but was famously a “show about nothing”) in my memory I can think of Louie, which before I gave up on it had glimpses of greatness (the episode featuring Dane Cook still stands out as the best one and his season 1 episode going to Birmingham was incredibly authentic and funny, and not just because I too got heckled at a large room in Birmingham) and Funny People – the bait and switch 4 hour movie by Judd Apatow that was “about stand up comedy,” but turned out to be another rom com that was too long that happened to have some scenes at stand up comedy clubs.  I may be forgetting other things, but for me that is irrelevant because TJGS has been brilliant in its humor this season and specifically in its simultaneous depiction and parodying of stand up comedy in 2016.

Season 1 of The Jim Gaffigan Show was very good, but it felt like more of a focus on the family and personal life of Gaffigan. It made me laugh and was a pleasant diversion from life, exactly what most would want from a 30 minute sitcom.  The cast was excellent, especially a longtime favorite of mine, Adam Goldberg, in what I think must be some sort of amalgamation of different comedians Gaffigan has been friends with (I always thought it might have been Greg Giraldo, but the character, Dave Marks, is too much of a quasi-loser, underground figure to be an exact parallel). At the end of season 1 I thought, “I hope that show gets renewed.” And it did.  And even though Gaffigan and Louis CK have different sensibilities and styles, I thought TJGS was more of what I hoped Louie would be. Instead, Louie morphed into a largely unfunny (to me) homage to Woody Allen movies.  Fortunately, season 2 of TJGS is not a Kubrick-esque exploration of art and family, but instead has turned into a brilliant depiction of stand up comedy that combines accuracy and parody seamlessly.

Whether the show found its voice more clearly, hired additional writers or if simply this was its natural progression, season 2 has been one of the 3 or 4 best comedies I have watched on TV all year (I would have to imagine ABC which, given Gaffigan’s clean and widespread appeal and well known family of 7, would have seemed to have been the ideal landing spot for TJGS. Instead it is on TV Land).  And the main reason to me is the brilliant direction the show has gone with stand up comedy in particular.  The last two episodes (pardon the recency bias) have mocked the alternative scene (“Union Hall is actually a mainstream alternative room”), the idea of road comedy (“I do theaters,  I don’t know if that makes me a ‘road comic'”), the obligations to your friends in comedy (“You gotta have your buddy open for you”), seeing your friends not help you out in comedy (“Oh THAT Q.E.D”) and portrayed the struggles of a non star comedian with tremendous humor and accuracy (“I might have to get a day job”).  What makes this more impressive is that Gaffigan’s actual career is far removed from the professional struggles he portrays.  That is either a credit to his mind and memory, a credit to the writing staff, or both.

There are literally too many moments from the last two episodes for me to recall all of the jokes that hit so well on truths in stand up comedy, but the tight rope of parodying something, while still accurately depicting it is really impressive.  Perhaps stand up in 2016 has already become a parody of itself and TJGS is merely reflecting it, but to anyone out there who wants to laugh and wants to see something that really and truly depicts the world of stand up comedy, set your DVR to The Jim Gaffigan Show.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on iTunes and/or STITCHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe for free! And look for J-L’s new stand up album ISRAELI TORTOISE in August 2016.

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Comedy Recap: Back to the Future in Columbus, Ohio

On Thursday of last week I travelled to Columbus, Ohio to audition for feature work at the Columbus Funny Bone.  Any comedian who has ever attempted to work the road should be familiar with the club. The manager there books feature work for 15 A clubs around the country so it is an important stop for people who want to get a lot of road work (and don’t have a manager, agent AND still believe in the antiquated philosophy that performing comedy is the best way to establish a career in comedy).  This was actually my third time auditioning at the club since 2007, so I think a brief chronology of how I found myself at the Easton Mall in Columbus, Ohio on April 7, 2016 is in order.

2007: Not Ready

In 2007 I went to the Columbus Funny Bone for the 2nd time.  The first time was as an audience member several years later to watch Greg Giraldo, a birthday present from my college girlfriend who was attending OSU Medical School while I was at Georgetown Law.  Well, in 2007 it was time for another lawyer-comedian whose career would eventually die to take the stage.  I had lots of material, but had not actually performed a 30 minute set yet. So like a human centipede version of my bringer sets I simply stitched together 3 ten minutes sets together. The result was an uneven, poorly paced set, with some good laughs, but overall somewhat incompetent.  On that same show was NYC comedian Keith Alberstadt and I saw that he was much more comfortable with the time. When I met the manager after the show to receive my $50 for the gig, he specifically singled out Keith as someone who did get passed because he seemed ready.  In a rare moment of humility (but I am never above being humbled, just not falsely) I was in complete agreement.  So for 2+ years I worked on getting some road work at C and B rooms and doing lots of time in NYC.  And like Rocky I may have lost the first installment, but I learned a lot and came back ready to win in the sequel…

2009: Of Course I Got Passed

When I made my way out to Columbus in 2009 I was armed with a lot more confidence and I got passed. The best feeling was that I knew it before I spoke with the manager because I had killed.  I got my $50 and was told to look for work in 2010.

2010-2015: Good Start and then Screwed by Children of the Corn

In 2010 I worked the Hartford Funny Bone and the Toledo Funny Bone. Killed both weeks.  I then got an unsolicited e-mail from the manager saying that he had received great feedback on me and I was being bumped up his list. I figured that had to be a good thing. For 2011 I got booked at Hartford again, the Huntington, West Virginia Funny Bone and the Des Moines Funny Bone.  The Hartford week went great, but in a moment that was indicative of the general luck of my comedy career, the West Virginia club closed before I could work there (my career is like The Nothing in The Neverending Story). Then came the Des Moines Funny Bone. The gig started well – I was opening for Jim Short, an Australian comic I had met a few years earlier at the San Francisco Comedy Competition. So paired with a funny headliner who was fun to hang with (when he spilled popcorn at a movie, his rage was one of the funniest things of the entire week) the week was going well, though I was not killing like I had at the other clubs (but can you completely trust the sense of humor of a state that over the course of my comedy career has selected Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Ted Cruz in their caucuses?).  And then I closed my final set with my communications with an attempted groupie in Iowa:

When I left Iowa I felt pretty good.  Sold some merchandise, avoided cheating on my girlfriend (watch the video so you get this joke – not actually treating fidelity like an accomplishment). Little did I know I would not be booked as a feature again from that March week in 2011.

2016: Don’t Call It a Comeback. Seriously, don’t. I Was Already Passed Here.

Since 2013 I have volunteered to re-audition (around 10 years into comedy is when pride and dignity are completely beat out of you if all you have is your Hotmail account booking you on gigs). It took over two years to get back on (granted for a while the manager was not re-auditioning and then the club underwent massive renovations (it looks really terrific now), but on April 7, 2016 I made it back.  I had a pre-show meal at the Cheesecake Factory (after the usual sprint across a freeway that are commonplace for my road work trips – WE ARE A FAT NATION BECAUSE THE MIDDLE STATES DONT BELIEVE IN SIDEWALKS) and then got ready to perform.  I was the first to the green room, but then I was greeted by Miguel Dalmau, a NYC-turned-Indianapolis comedian and a comedian from Florida (who promptly dropped 3 names of headliners he works with, perhaps just nerves or conversation, but it felt like he had spent too much time in LA), both of whom were auditioning.

All sets went well (the crowd was a pretty easy laugh) and I was re-passed?  The manager informed me that, although he didn’t recall (I told him, that’s ok – you have to keep track of hundreds of comedians; I just keep track of one), I must have received bad reviews at a club. I said “Des Moines, 2011.”  I then received my $50 $25 for the gig  and spent it on popcorn, water and a ticket to Hardcore Henry, an atrocious action movie which is reviewed on this site on the movie review page. Because no matter how good or productive a comedy trip is, I always like it to end poorly.

Epilogue: Accela Train Blues

On Friday I had an 11:05 am flight out of Columbus to BWI and then an Amtrak ticket from BWI to NYC.  The reasons I do this are as follows:

  • Most trips to Ohio from NYC are on small planes. I don’t fit well on small planes and I hate how they have turbulence, even on clear sky days.
  • Southwest, which flies to all the Ohio cities I perform in, use 737s, which are solid sized planes.
  • But Southwest only goes to Columbus via Chicago if leaving LaGuardia and
  • I have a lot of Amtrak points so
  • I take Amtrak to and from BWI and Southwest to and from Ohio out of BWI

Well, I woke up in my Extended Stay hotel on Friday morning and saw that my plane was delayed 80 minutes, which is exactly the window I left myself to get to the 1:30pm poor people Amtrak. When I called Amtrak to change trains, the only train available after that for many hours was the 3:20 Accela (the rich people train) for a healthy $160 add on. So for anyone who wants a tally – that’s $190 on airfare, $160 on train fare, $100 on hotel, $35 on salmon and cheesecake, $25 on Hardcore Henry, $30 on Columbus cab fares and $25 in comedy pay. So for -$515.00 I was able to turn the clock back to 2009.  Pretty cheap for time travel!

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on iTunes and/or STITCHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe for free!

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The Non-Tour Tour Dates and a New Killer Bit

Many comedians refer to their calendar as a “tour,” but for the most part that is deceptive re-branding to make “calendar” or “bookings” seem more impressive, sort of like a secretary being called an administrative assistant or Kevin Hart claiming to be 5’3″ instead of 4’5″.  To have a tour there should be a theme, a finite, but numerous roster of gigs and either talent or a large enough fan base to warrant calling it a tour.  Since I have none of those things, but will be recording my new album in June (in NYC – date to be confirmed and possibly one other city) I might as well tell you the places I will be until then in case you a) ignore my newsletter b) don’t get my newsletter or c) never look at my website, which is loaded with good content and cost me thousands of dollars over the course of my career.  As a reward for reading this and possibly marking your calendar with dates when I will be near you I have attached a new bit that will be featured in my album recording shows about how being in relationships in 2016 is harder than ever in human history.  So here is my non-tour tour and the new bit (subscribe on YouTube if you like it:

  • DC Improv March 31st – April 3
  • Columbus Funny Bone – April 7
  • Cleveland Improv – April 14-17
  • “Organic Porn” – new sketch release April 14
  • Los Angeles (Flappers Comedy Club, The Adam Carolla Show, New Video for ACS ) – May 15-19
  • New Album Recording – June date(s) – TBA

See, that wasn’t so tough.  Now, here is a new bit, sort of like a trailer for the kind of stuff my new album will contain:

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on iTunes and/or STITCHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe for free!

 

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10 Free Things You Can Do To Improve Your…

There has been a heated debate within stand up comedy regarding comedy festival submission fees recently and I think it is important that young comics or would be comics learn that there are a lot of things outside of festivals and bringer shows they can do to improve their comedy career. Granted, none of these things necessarily involve writing or performing, except for one, but in a day where it is less cost effective to work the road and more difficult to crack into rotation at hometown clubs due to growing numbers of performers, social media and other uses of the Internet are the best ways to reverse engineer a comedy career. Build a fan base first, then get them to buy tickets to your stand up that you have not had time to work on and perfect – it is that simple.  So here is the way to do that, instead of complaining about festival fees:

1) Take a picture with a child of a different race than you and post it to social media with something about how racism is taught. Works best if you are under the age of 8. Watch your Facebook shares skyrocket and your Instagram followers grow.

2) Take a disabled person to the prom – Someone will cover this and you will become a hero.

3) Take a soldier to the prom – Someone may cover this and you will become a hero.

4) Take a disabled soldier to the prom – Someone will definitely cover this and you will go viral.

5) Post a video or blog where you “School Someone” in a specific number of seconds – Pick an easy target, like the KKK or Justin Bieber or Donald Trump. Wait for them to say something dumb on an issue of societal importance and then either in a video (at which point you have to mention how many seconds it is in the title, but can be no more than 90 seconds) or a blog post “school them” on why they are dead wrong.  But you cannot claim to school them yourself. This is the risk in this method. You just have to be heavy handed about things that are pretty much consensus to thinking people and then let it get picked up by a click bait site (all sites) and they will let the world know how badly you schooled them.

6) Destroy a Heckler – This is almost a classic move at this point, but it does require you to get on stage. When you get heckled, just respond with some dismissive snarky comment and then title the video “Comedian destroys,” even if you did not do anything of the sort. People will be primed to think you did destroy.

7) Write as many Open Letters as you can – This does not cost anything and should be done daily. Each day pick someone who has said something horribly offensive, mildly offensive or not offensive at all and write them an open letter.

8 ) Be Under 30 – This is an important tip. Don’t ignore it.

9) Change all your social media avatars to a hot, but not unrealistically hot picture of a woman – their jokes are funnier, their pictures get more likes and they get booked on more shows and afternoon “writing sessions.” Doesn’t matter if you are a woman or not. Your social media profiles should identify as a hot, but accessibly hot, woman.

10) Don’t end your list posts with a conventional number.  Always end with an odd number so that it appears you put more thought into generating a list instead of a pre-determined hacky number like 10.

So that is it people. You can take the condescending advice of people who have already arrived at a good place in the business or are on their way. Or you could take the advice of newcomers who talk a big game of which they know very little. Or you can follow my steps and become a successful comedian that saves money in the process. The choice is yours.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on iTunes and/or STITCHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe for free!

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Weekend Comedy Recap – Sick in Saratoga

This weekend I had, what appears to be my final gig of 2015, in Saratoga Springs, NY. And like the race horses that have run there, my career has been begging to be euthanized.  On top of that general malaise, I also was (and still am) in the midst of the worst cold I have had in many years.  But it was with the warrior’s determination of a vagrant participating in a bum fight that I boarded the PATH train to Hoboken to meet up with Usama and Dan, another comedian on the show and the show’s producer, respectively, to ride up to Saratoga.  Usama, who turns out was going to go to medical school before discovering comedy, or as I call it, “the poor man’s def poetry”, showed off his brains and wit quickly, as he pick 6’d one of my jokes in our initial conversation (a “pick 6” is a term I coined for when a comedian telegraphs his (sigh… or her) punchline so badly that were it a football pass you could intercept it and take it in for a touchdown.  In this case it felt more like I had been picked off by Richard Sherman or Darrel Revis (like when I anticipated a Bill Burr punchline correctly at MSG – sometimes a brilliant comedic mind can make a great play without it being the QB/joke teller’s fault).  In my case, Usama and I were looking at the Freedom Tower from Hoboken (a Bangladeshi man named Usama and a bi-racial Egyptian-looking giant surveying the Freedom Tower from New Jersey – I am scared and angry that we weren’t profiled) and I said, telling him it was a joke (instead of being one of the comedians who pretends like his organic conversation just naturally morphs into well constructed bits), that it is a good thing we didn’t have cell phone cameras on 9/11 because nothing would have been worse – and he interrupted me and said “People shouting world star as the towers fell!”  And at that moment I realized either I am losing my fastball or Usama is a sharp dude/comedian.  Needless to say both my comedic instincts and my self preservation instincts compel me to choose the latter.

So Dan showed up shortly after Usama and I met and we got into Dan’s Subaru. Dan is Italian, but also has a Mediterranean skin tone that could easily be construed as Middle Eastern, so basically we had a sleeper cell headed to Saratoga, with much worse funding.  Usama fell asleep in the backseat for just about the entire ride up, which allowed me to eat horribly at rest stops without the skinny dude body shaming me. #DoveSoapAd

We arrived at the venue, The Parting Glass Pub, at around 7, just in the nick of time for the 915pm start time.  There were just as many headhsots of horses as there were of entertainers, or maybe Tony Robbins used to do comedy.  I sat in a half coma sounding like Stephen Hawking with a stuffy nose, hacking like I was in the last stages of Ebola, which allowed me the isolation I needed to prep for my set.  The show went really well with Usama really impressing me (he did use the “soul bounce”, generally saved for black comics in all white rooms (trademark pending), to point out he was a real outlier compared to the crowd, whose racial makeup was somewhere between albino and bleach, but his set was really great).  I did well with my 40 minute set (my timer after read “40:07” which proves that even when sick I am a well-oiled machine of struggling comedy) despite my cold and the local guy taping the show was nice enough to tell me he was a huge fan of my appearances on The Adam Carolla Show.  Basically this was like Jordan’s flu game against the Utah Jazz, but for upstate NY comedy shows.

The most famous headliner to appear at The Parting Glass Pub (before me).

We then departed back for Hoboken, stopping just once at a Roy Rodgers where I got a burger and fries just to ensure that death would come swiftly. We arrived in Hoboken at 3:00 am and Usama took the PATH back to the city.  I got home at 3:45 and celebrated a good show with a chipwich and 4 hours of sleep.  For one little show the money was good, though I did the math and if I had simply worked on my legal assignment for the entire time I spent on the Saratoga trip I would have made triple the money.  When you are willing to sacrifice comfort and money for comedy that is a sign of dedication to your craft.  Or a sign of masochism.  Either way, looks like that is the last road update of 2015.  Thanks for the least productiv & least lucrative year of comedy road work for me in 7 years comedy biz! #Blessed

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on iTunes and/or STITCHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe for free!

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Weekend Comedy Recap: FInally, J-L Has Come Back to…

This weekend took me to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania – birthplace of Jesus Christ and high school football location of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.  Well, major events happen in threes, so you can officially add my stand up performance to that historic duo.   I was scheduled to headline a 7pm show at Broadway Social and because of my extensive fan base (consisting almost exclusively of friends from college and law school) I knew I would have 2-10 “fans” in the crowd.  To get to Bethlehem I had to take Transbridge bus line (“I took Transbridge bus to get here, so I guess now buses can identify as whatever they want in this post Kaitlyn Jenner world” was my first joke on stage and it bombed), which is all part of my “Not Even Good Enough For a Greyhound Depot” Comedy Tour of America.  At only 3 hours, the bus ride was not quite long enough to cripple my bum knees, but I still had a limp for about a half hour after arriving in Bethlehem.

When I arrived I was greeted by my buddy Scott, Scott’s brother and a friend of theirs.  It was also confirmed that many years ago I coined a term called “Weinberg” that has become very popular in their circles in Bethlehem.  Like many funny things I have forgotten I told Scott that whenever someone tries to shift blame on someone out of nowhere it is like when Col. Nathan R Jessup in A Few Good Men asks Daniel Caffey who’s going to protect the country, “You (Caffey?)” *turning unexpectedly to Kevin Pollack’s character with a hint of Antisemitism “YOU Lt Weinberrrggg?”  So at some point in my storied career of unpaid humor I referred to someone as totally “Weinberging” someone. And for many years that has become a thing in Bethlehem, PA. #Legend

"What did I do?" - Lt. Weinberg

When we arrived at Broadway Social I saw that it was a pretty nice bar/lounge so I took in the surroundings, went over my notes for what I wanted to do on stage and set up my camera that I lugged from NYC.  After several local comedians went up I went up and had a very strong set.  The lounge had a clear VIP lounge area for private parties or something so it got a huge laugh when I said after a sort of dirty bit got less laughs than others “Oh please we are in a club with a VIP rape room right over there!  So don’t act too uptight when you know that visiting stripper porn stars probably come here to fu*k who ever is the important business man in Bethlehem.”  I was extremely happy with the set and knew that I had at least 2-3 quality YouTube clips ready from the set.  On top of that I also was paid $5 more than the agreed upon payment.  So let that be a lesson to you young comics – if you do things right, work hard and professionally you will reap tremendous, unexpected benefits.

Sometimes your talent and height are too big for a normal spotlight.

After the show I went back with Scott to his house, but his three kids and wife were at the in-laws, which led to two benefits: a late night viewing of John Wick on HBO and a free child’s twin bed for me to sleep in (I think I secretly hoped that Scott’s family would arrive before I woke up just for the potential Goldilocks/Home Alone level humor of a 4 year old finding a giant in his bed.  Of course it probably ends with the child standing his ground and killing me in a perfectly legal shoot (especially considering my black father/ISIS eyebrows), but still pretty funny.

An artist's rendering of me sleeping in a twin bed

The next morning, before catching the transbus (Its momma named it bus, I’ma call it bus!), I was asked to stand as Godfather to Scott’s youngest child (After Mel Gibson and Stephen Colbert I might be the third most famous Catholic in entertainment).  I then slapped him and told him he should act like a man!  So, just another typical road comedy gig for me – bus travel, lucrative cash bonuses and providing spiritual guidance.  And then I got home and accidentally deleted the set from Friday night. #Blessed

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on iTunes and/or STITCHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe for free!

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Weekend Comedy Recap: Casino Normal

I was at the Mohegan Sun in Wilkes Barre, PA this weekend, so I guess my Cal Ripken-esque gig-less streak has been broken, but rest assured I am a fierce competitor and am committed to starting a new streak this week.  I love the Mohegan Sun gig because you always get a great room, and it is like a mini-legit casino (the title is supposed to be a James Bond pun on Casino Royale, since the new Bond film opened this week). The comedy club is nice and I have generally done well so nothing to fret.  I will just give you a few small highlights before sharing some clips of new bits that went well over the weekend (FYI – this is going up on a Sunday because Monday will be the all out blitz for my Trump-Sanders-Obama video – this week’s podcast will go up Wednesday instead of Tuesday:

  • Jokes about every group went well except one: women. Now I made jokes about big women, but this line, that attacked women’s overall role as financial beneficiaries on dates, fell flatter than anything I said all weekend: “Valentine’s Day is sort of weird – in honor of boyfriends and husbands paying for dinner all year, they should pay more money for extra date – that is a weird way of saying thanks to us. I mean do you ask your Mom to cook you an extra special breakfast when it’s Mother’s Day?” – It felt like Daffy Duck following Bugs Bunny on stage. Crickets.
  • Got to earn extra loot by doing a firehouse gig before Saturday’s show.  Took my first Uber ride and despite making 2 wrong turns the guy still asked for a 5 star review.  I was leaning 4 stars, but the guy was an African immigrant living in Donald Trump-loving Pennsylvania country so before he gets shot by police or chased out of town by a mob I figured I could give him a charity 5 stars.
  • Got paid in cash for all my shows and some Uber reimbursement, but still managed to walk by all the tables without plopping it down and seeing if I could leave with headliner money.  So thanks to my caution I still have cell phone, Con Ed and health insurance money for the month. What I am saying is that I am a rock star.
  • OK, so without further adieu here are 3 bits from this weekend that I am very proud of. Hope you enjoy them, share them and subscribe to the channel:
Big Girl Selfies
Magnum Depends

Utility Son

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on iTunes and/or STITCHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe for free!

 

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Weekend Comedy Recap: Moroccan Restaurant Domination

Last night I was booked on a show at a Moroccan restaurant (little known comedy fact – Kevin Hart, Louis CK and Amy Schumer all got their big breaks at Sunday evening shows at basement Moroccan restaurant shows) and it did not disappoint. I arrived around 7:45pm for the 8pm show and was greeted by an Eastern European 9.7/10 who, surprisingly had never heard of me (she offered me a table, when I was obviously there for comedy, she must not be a fan of Comics Unleashed) or the comedy show (an older woman informed her that the comedy show was inside).  On a side note I was not sure what was sadder, me at this stage of my career or this super attractive young woman working at this restaurant, probably via shipping crate, when she could be attached to a millionaire within 6 months with a little bit of hustle and missed birth control.  The bottom line is we are both way too talented in our respective areas of strength for that Moroccan restaurant.

Well the ambiance was very relaxing, dim lighting, friendly staff and music that sounded alternatively like the the call to prayer in a Muslim country and the ominous music before something bad happens on Tyrant on FX.  I sat in a table in the back waiting for people to show up sitting next to a guy with a huge beard (devout messy, not hipster messy), wearing sunglasses, smoking a hookah and eating a large meal by himself (#LoneWolf).

The booker for the show showed up next and we had a nice laugh at the zero audience members, and I requested that “Although I am a professional failure, please let it be known that I am professional,” given my early arrival.  The last time they had the show it was well attended, which just confirmed my status as Comedy’s version of The Nothing in The Neverending Story.  A couple more comics showed up shortly after 8 and we say and chatted til about 8:40. It was like how comedians sit around at the Comedy Cellar, except none of us had professional opportunities or advice to offer each other, but we also were not in denial about our comedy industry 1% status.

The show was officially cancelled at around 8:40 pm, but that was OK by me, because you can never bomb the sets you don’t do.  Let that be a lesson to any young comedians reading this blog.  Then I walked across Manhattan with comedian Sergio Chicon, discussing all the great things that come with a career in stand up comedy, departing on 2nd avenue for him to catch the bus home and me to drown my comedy sorrows in a chocolate milkshake at Baskin Robbins.  So I finished the night with a non-show only costing me $4.67.  Based on my 12+ years in this business that is definitely one of my more lucrative nights. #Blessed #ComedyMogul

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on iTunes and/or STITCHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe for free!

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American Idol Cancelled! But Singing Refugees Can Seek Asylum…

After 15 years, American Idol has been cancelled by Fox.  The show has produced six legitmate stars (Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Chris Daughtry, Carrie Underwood, Adam Lambert and Phillip Phillips), hundreds of blooper reels and tens of thousands of delusional singers.   Well, with the mother of all singing competition shows obliterated (granted a haggard looking mother after several childbirths now ditched by the Dad of American TV ratings for the younger and hotter trophy wife known as The Voice) there will be a refugee crisis to rival that of the exodus from Syria over the last couple of years. I am, of course, writing about where the literally millions (AND MILLIONS – Rock voice) of singers in America will go now that one of their homes has been destroyed.  I tweeted a couple of years ago that if America could figure out how to turn aspiring singers hopes and/or delusions into energy we would be able to provide clean energy (well almost clean – there is bound to be some unprotected sex between singers and managers/producers) to the world for decades.  Well fortunately there is a place where failed singers… and just failed people in general can find a home – stand up comedy!

Like Jesus feeding 5,000 people in the story of the fishes and the loaves, stand up comedy seems to have an unlimited space for people who want to perform (and upon the first unpaid performance change their career listing on Facebook).   So come on singers!  Join the world of comedy.  You aren’t making money as a singer so comedy will simply be a lateral move.  Plus you will probably have some stage charisma and might be fu*kable looking which are two of the top four things you need to make a splash in comedy right now.  The other two are youth and being related to Bill D’Elia.

So if you are a waiter or waitress or unemployed person with a great singing voice in reality or just in your shower, google comedy open mics in your city and join the community of stand up comedy.  It honestly doesn’t matter if you have any experience or even a sense of humor.  Being funny is only one of literally dozens of avenues to success in comedy in 2015.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on iTunes and/or STITCHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe for free!

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Comedy and Weight Loss Across America

When life closes one door, another one opens.  This is very true in my life, but generally when one decent door closes , the new door opening is an elevator door opening yielding an empty and fatal elevator shaft.  For the last couple of months I have been struggling to keep up with my free content empire (blogs and sketch videos have suffered the biggest reduction, the podcast has had more solo episodes while movie reviews remain the most consistent) with some very time consuming daytime legal work.  But no need to worry fan (or possibly I am up to fanS plural now), my day job assignment ended two weeks early so while I will start desperately seeking day time work (I receive replies to 5% of my comedy booking emails, but 75% of my legal work emails so at least I get some positive affirmation on top of actual money from pursuing legal work over comedic work) and experiencing financial related stress I will have more time to reaffirm my status as the King of All Unpaid Media.  Today’s contribution is a series of videos from stand up shows this year that will showcase some solid bits (mostly new from the 2nd half of 2014, or improved if not new bits) and provide an accidental time lapse of some of my weight loss this year.

I considered posting my half hour submission to Comedy Central from the DC Improv, but I would rather keep that product private until I officially don’t get picked. In the unlikely event I get selected then I definitely won’t post it because I think 90% of it would end up being what I would like to showcase on a television taping.  So enjoy this collection of random bits from 2014:

The Fatal Mistake of Quiznos

Dating vs Hooking Up

The Battle of Generations at Panera Bread

The End of Racism and Black Bouncers

The Benefit of Gay Marriage

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