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LA Road Comedy Recap Part 1: DJ-L Unleashed

This week I am in Los Angeles for what can only be considered a media blitz by my comedy career’s standards.  Today I record an episode of The Adam Carolla Show (third appearance of the year so I really expect to start seeing the “seriously who the fu*k is this guy and why is he on the show a lot” tweets and Facebook messages) and then tomorrow I fly back to NYC to beg for bar show spots.  This month has really been a peak for me in terms of accomplishing things without management – a successful Last Comic Standing showcase audition, a TV appearance and a repeat appearance on the world’s #1 podcast.  Now if I can just win Last Comic Standing, get 2 or 3 more TV appearances and be Carolla’s replacement when he retires I should finally catch the eye of a manager or agent (did you think I was going to NOT see a negative side to all this?).  Well here is the recap of my trip so far:

I flew out to LA on Delta and paid the extra $100 for the economy comfort seat.  Made a huge difference – it really is amazing to not have my knees bleeding from being embedded in my tray table when I get off of a plane.  I watched Draft Day, the Kevin Costner movie, for free on the flight and actually enjoyed it. Had a corny ending but it was an entertaining way to pass 2 hours on a cross country flight and had many scenes in Cleveland, including filming at the gas station right near the Cleveland Improv comedy condo.

When I arrived in LA I headed to my hotel.  Hotwire.com has been doing good work for me for the last couple of years in getting me good deals on hotels (the trick is you only know the neighborhood and the stars of the hotel, but not the name or exact address).  So I picked a 2.5 star hotel for very cheap within a few miles of Adam Carolla’s studio.  Now when I got word of my hotel, I was disturbed by the name – Safari Inn.  Not a chain. Stupid name.  A sign of a surfboard as their logo as if they misunderstood their own name (Surfari – surf board makes sense, Safari? No sense).  When I actually arrived at the hotel I realized that it was actually a motel.  And near my room they have posters of different Hollywood productions that have filmed at Safari Inn. Among the productions: Prison Break, CSI, True Romance.  In other words Hollywood producers look at my motel and say, “This looks perfect for where fugitives, sex criminals and Mexican standoffs could take place!”  But with less than 24 hours left in my stay in LA I have yet to murder or be murdered. #Blessed

But on to the main event.  On Tuesday afternoon I went to Culver City to record my episode of Comics Unleashed.  Basically what happens on the show is the host, Byron Allen, sits with 4 comics in a talk show setting, but delivers easy set ups for you to deliver your prepared bits.  I had my own trailer with my name on it which was cool.  The show went really well.  One of the bits I was certain would kill had one line fall flat, but several including my last one went really really well and from all of that they will definitely have good stuff to make me look funny when the episode airs.  The most fascinating part of the experience to me was the crowd work.  The crowd was bigger than I expected (probably 4 times the Ferguson crowd) and there was a huge party atmosphere (DJ, hype woman, tons of cheering and dancing, etc) to the point that when I came out with the other comics to take our seats I felt like Drago in Rocky IV entering the ring versus Apollo Creed:

But so far a good trip.  Tomorrow – a recap of the Carolla day (and then a movie review of Gone Girl on Friday).

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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President Me by Adam Carolla

This past weekend I finished an advance copy (it’s out now anyway) of Adam Carolla’s new book President Me (this not a brag that I somehow receive advance access to popular media – I got it from someone who had access to advance copies of books and I will leave it at that).  It is no secret that I am a fan of Carolla.  I thought his first book, In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks, was non-stop hilarity.  His follow-up, Not Taco Bell Material, had moments of excellence but was not as much of a laugh riot as Chicks.  Well, President Me gets Carolla back to the Chicks approach: less memoir, more observations of the world around him. The result is just about as excellent as Chicks.

Now when it comes to my differences with Carolla, they grow the bigger the issue – i.e. the more macro an issue – taxes, government policy, race relations I tend to deviate from him.  However, when it comes to everyday things, which are the funnier of his observations and the overwhelming majority of the book, I rarely disagree with him.

The difference is in President Me is when I disagree with Carolla there was more of an attempt on his part to address the arguments against his viewpoint (before steamrolling ahead with his view anyway). The best example of this is his support of voter ID laws.  He readily acknowledges the subversive motives of the Republican Party, but then says he just thinks we should have them anyway.  Of course his near-endorsement of a poll tax (requiring everyone to bring a pay stub to the ballot) is a step way too far (but done half for comedic value), but I sort of appreciated that unlike folks from places like Fox News, at least he can say that he thinks something makes sense, even if he acknowledges that the people endorsing it are far from infallible heroes.

The main parts of the book are just laugh out loud funny.  I think his few pages on the proliferation of exposed feet in our society are the funniest things I have read in a while.  I think the main reason I like Carolla so much, despite our political differences, is that his view is “can we have an expansion of rights for everyone, but not a destruction of decorum and decency?” “Can’t things stay old school if old school had it right” sort of approach.  I have said it on a recent album that I feel in many ways I have more in common with my parents’ generation than I do with people in their early 20s.  Carolla may oversimplify some of the big things in our society and government, but on the specifics of every day life he is pretty spot on. And hilarious.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic, iTunes and NOW on STITCHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe on one or more platforms today – all for free!

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Los Angeles Journal Part 2: The Carolla Show Recap

There are multiple ways to view most events, where from one perspective something plays out one way, but from a different perspective (either visually, mentally, or emotionally) it can seem to be a completely different result.  My appearance on The Adam Carolla Show last Wednesday (aired on Thursday) could be one of those situations.  As I discussed with Nick Dopuch (my friend and chauffeur for my three days in LA) here is the neutral way to describe what led me on to that show: Step 1: I wrote a web series, which required both a fund raising campaign and out of pocket costs to get made, with the intention of showcasing my impressions and my voice within comedy.  Step two was to find a way to get the series publicity because 100% of the comedy media sources were unwilling to promote the series because the only thing more important to these sites and their creators than web clicks (which my videos are reliable for) is access to celebrities, several of whom are targets in the series.  Step three was a well timed tweet to Adam Carolla who actually watched and enjoyed the video and had his producer play it on the air. Step 4 was a dialogue with the show producer about making a new video specifically for the show. Step 5 was to write, cast and make the new video on my own dime within a week.  Step 6 was to be offered a guest spot on the show to release the video and fly myself out to Los Angeles. Step 7 was to do the best I could on the show.  And then step 8 was hopefully pick up lots of new traffic and fans and (long shot) begin a relationship with the show.  Right now, the plan was executed perfectly and led to exactly zero dollars (at least in the short term).   As Nick and I said in his car after my appearance, what I had just pulled off was BEST CASE SCENARIO for a comedian with no management and no industry connections.  To paraphrase Scarface, all I have in this world is my comedy and my balls and I don’t break them for no one.  (for the record, the other way to look at this scenario is like my Mother or millions of other rational human beings and ask “So wait, you are not getting paid?”)

But let’s break down the appearance, which meant more to me and has done more for me than my appearance on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson six years ago (landmarks in my comedy career are like Senate elections):

I was starting to feel sick the day of the show (it is now full blown bronchitis), which was probably a combo of a 1 am Greyhound trip from Syracuse to NYC on Sunday morning, followed by a six hour early morning flight to LA two days later and the stress of what I knew was an important opportunity for me.  About three hours before the show I almost puked (from nerves, not sickness).  The fact is when you are not in the chosen class of comedians where industry is fawning for whatever myriad of criteria they use, chances to expand your fan base in a big way are few.  So even though I did not know what I could gain from a successful appearance I also knew that opportunities like this are not frequent so I had to make the most of it.

When I arrived at the studio about 15 minutes before they told me to be there I was greeted by a small woman who had never heard of Adam Carolla.  The address number I wanted was 629, but I had a mental slip and went to 621. Now that my ride had left the neighborhood I panicked and thought what if I had the whole address wrong?  I have 15 minutes to get where I needed to be and had no idea how far I was.  Then an older gentleman popped his head out of another room and said “Carolla? Two buildings down.”  Crisis averted.

When I walked in to the Adam Carolla Studio building I was blown away. First I was meeting all these behind the scenes characters from the show and putting faces to names and jokes.  I have been listening to the show for 4 years, 5 days a week so at least to me it was very cool.  And then there was the studio itself.  It was like a shrine/fan room/man cave of the show.  Not so much a tribute to Adam, but rather a collection of things (probably made by fans who like the show) and tons of stuff Carolla likes.  And, although not politically in tune with Carolla, his humor and his “fu*k the industry – I will run my comedy business how I see fit” are things I appreciate and respect (and foolishly emulate since I do not have hundreds of thousands of fans).

I proceeded to get buzzed off of Carolla’s signature drink, Mangria, before the show to calm my nerves and then it was showtime.  I threw in a few quips, got to do impressions of President Obama, Louis CK, Biggie, Dane Cook and JB Smoove.  I got Adam to laugh a few times, which was a real accomplishment, and got compliments from the show’s staff (maybe they do that for everyone but I think they meant it).  They also played my new video Adam Carolla vs The Patent Troll in its entirety on the air.  In other words I really felt like I stuck the landing.  Afterwards, while waiting by myself in front of a Del Taco by myself waiting for Nick to pick me up I almost started turning into Tom Hanks at the end of Captain Phillips, but I kept my composure.

"Huh? What? Yes I did a good job on the podcast!"

More than anything I have done in comedy this was the most satisfying thing I have accomplished in 11 years.  Because it was all me.  It offered me a day or two of validation for the way I have approached comedy and it is all attributable to me. This may sound conceited or selfish, but for all the effort and sacrifice I have made to build my own life raft (Carolla calls his a pirate ship, but given the relative size of my operation, as well as my Haitian father, I feel life raft is a more apt analogy), I earned a chance to say for a night, like Cerano in Major League, “fu*k you comedy business… I do it myself.”

But like anything in comedy, there always seems a price to pay.  And not only did my bronchitis get worse, but randomly checking my bank balance the next day I saw that my bank account was short what it should have been because a check from a previous gig had just bounced.  If anyone has read the book 11/22/1963 by Stephen King, it is about someone changing the course of history, but the bigger the event, the more impediments pop up to prevent change to that event.  It felt sort of like that “Congrats on working your way into an opportunity not usually provided to people in your position. Hope you don’t mind us taxing you for the chance.”

But not even that could make the trip any less than a big success.  I picked up 100 YouTube subscribers, 50 Twitter followers and a ton of new podcast subscribers.  And sadly, in comedy this counts as currency.  It also validated my work to a large pool of people that I think will also appreciate my work.  Now all I need to do is figure out how to appear on The Adam Carolla Show 225 times a year and I will be a star by this time next year. Check the episode HERE (or on iTunes)

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on PodomaticiTunes and NOW on STITCHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe on one or more platforms today – all for free!

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My New Carolla Video and a Great Opportunity

Well, the video that Adam Carolla’s producer asked me to make is up and ready thanks to some great and expeditious work from my usual crew.  The better news is that Carolla’s producer loved the video and will have me on the show next week I think.  It is a great chance to reach his hundreds of thousands of listeners and meet one of my biggest role models in the comedy game (naturally his self-made, outsider role is what I have been trying to emulate on a much, much smaller and more financially precarious level for the last couple of years).  I hope this is the start of something really big for me (maybe not, but breaks don’t come along too often and I am glad I made this one without industry, PR, management or any other typical gate keeper for any decent opportunity for a comedian).  So I will keep you posted, but for now please enjoy the new video (admittedly it is mainly for Carolla fans to enjoy”):

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on PodomaticiTunes and NOW on STITCHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe on one or more platforms today – all for free!