Blog

Road Comedy Recap: The Scatman Crothers of the Boston…

It has been several years since I attended any comedy festival and 10 years since I made a good, but failed run at the Boston Comedy Festival.  But in the “hope springs eternal” mindset that rests beneath numerous layers of “fu*k this sh*t” I entered the Boston Comedy Festival again this year. My mindset was fairly practical in entering. The prize for the winner was $10,000.  With 96 competitors I figured odds were in my favor (imagine buying a $600 lottery ticket – train and hotel fare – but your odds of winning $10,000 was 1 in 96 – but really much better than that based on experience) so I entered.  Also, a much less important factor I figured was with most comics of my comedy generation either finding success or permanent obscurity it was time for me to meet the next group of comedians who might pass me by in the next five years. Either way I figured there were enough reasons to give it a shot.

So after spending several hundred dollars I went to my preliminary round Thursday night and had a really good set. And then at the end of the show when the comedians going on to the semi finals were announced I figured I was definitely in the top 5. And I may have been right, but I was not in the top 3, which was the number of comics advancing.  And just like that I felt like Scatman Crothers from the Shining. I had gotten on my Snowcat (Amtrak) and traveled many miles to show up to save the day, only to have a comedy contest ax buried in my chest.  But like many things in comedy, I am calloused at this point to where I can just sort of shrug it off in a few minutes (by contrast losing in the semi finals in 2006 took me… oh wait I am still not over that robbery).  Silver lining 2 of the 3 comics that made the semis from my prelim also made the finals, meaning that we had a disproportionate number of finalists.  The system really is rigged!

When you have a vision of being a hero in Boston, but get axed in the 1st round

I spent the next day at the movie theater (movies and movie snacks are my alcohol) and saw Arrival (thoughtful and solid) and Magical Harry Potter Beast Creatures Movie (decent escapism, but not sure I need it to be a five movie franchise, which is what they have planned). And then, thanks to my friend comedian Jay Nog I got a spot on his Paid or Pain show as part of the festival.  The show is unique, but simple: comedians perform and the audience decides if they get paid or pain (delivered by a dominatrix – on this show a latex clad busty woman – my favorite thing on the show, other than my own humor, was seeing the comedians on the lineup talk to her in the green room like she didn’t look like a porn star – my conversation with her would have been “Did you order a pizza? Something wrong with your cable? Plumbing? Are we gonna fu*k or what??”). I was one of the two judges on the show offering witty criticism and commentary on the show and the performers.  Other than the aforementioned dominatrix I think it would be safe to say my Trump impression stole the show.  I spent the last 20 minutes speaking as Trump only, including what Trump would want from a dominatrix (“I would want Ivanka in the room because she is very hot and I would want the dominatrix to be dehydrated so when she peed on me it was a strong Trump gold color”).  I think the show will air on Sirius XM at some point – I will tweet/share the details if I get them.

After the show I had a couple of comedians and audience members tell me that I should audition for SNL. It was a nice compliment and I will get on that as soon as I find a way to make it to the semi finals of a comedy contest.

Get J-L’s new stand up albums KEEP MY ENEMIES CLOSER &  ISRAELI TORTOISE on iTunes, Amazon & Google.

Blog

Will Work For Distraction

So I have been a “full time comedian” for a little over 4 months.  I have booked some feature spots,dropped 18 lbs (through diet and exercise – cocaine weight loss will be when I become a famous comedian and can’t make as much time for the gym) and was pleased with the one television audition I had (though every day I get increasingly nervous about getting the spot).  I’ve begun acting classes and writing beyond stand up.  The question now is, after e-mails, writing, working out, sleeping and performing, what do I do with the other 14 hours of my day?

One option is reading.  I recently finished The Bonfire of the Vanities, which basically set the bar so high that writing reality-based fiction seems to be too lofty a goal for a comedian and blogger.

Next option is more writing.  As I begin trying to write a script I am also using a lot of my time to watch The West Wing – I have banged out 5 1/2 seasons in approximately 4 weeks, which is the best streak of my career since I did 4 seasons of the Wire (a nerdy pre-Season 5 recap) in two weeks.  This show, more so than The Sopranos and even The Wire, has raised the bar on writing a serious show and has made me think that I should probably stick to shows with the depth of Two and a Half Men.

All work and no play makes J-L very good at watching The West Wing
All work and no play makes J-L very good at watching The West Wing

I have also found moments during this four month stretch where I have had e-mail and Facebook exchanges stretching into two hours in length, and not one was an in depth Twitter exchange on Iranian politics.

So I am pretty sure I can keep this up for another 6-12 months (and financially for 18 months), but the question is what to do with my time before I start hatcheting up a hotel?  And that is scary considering my bench and squat numbers are back to my college level (idle time is apparently the Devil’s creatine as well).

What too much time in the gym and at open mics can lead to without the offsetting of an annoying day job.
What too much time in the gym and at open mics can lead to without the offsetting of an annoying day job.

I guess at some point a job may be needed just to keep my sanity.  But I think I should pick a job that would at least enhance some episodes of my show if based on my life. 

  • One option is working at a Starbucks across the street from my old firm.  A few priceless moments of awkwardness. 
  • Or I could work at the oddly placed porn shop near my apartment – never thought of Turtle Bay as a mecca for seediness.  Those scenes would show my putting down my notepad or a Pulitzer Prize winning biography to ring up Anal Sluts 4.  Seems a little too gimmicky.
  • Try to make money the easy way, by frequenting the OTB across the street from my apartment building – making me the only person there under the age of 50 and not smelling of tobacco. 
  • Get cast in a few commercials as “tall, racially ambiguous male #1”.

Whatever – time to go to the gym.