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New Video Asks: What If Your Favorite TV Bad…

With Sons of Anarchy ending recently, many of the bad boys of the golden age of television are dead and gone (some literally, some just figuratively).  Walter White, Jax Teller, Tony Soprano and Dexter Morgan just to name a few.  But while these men got away with season upon season of violence and anti-heroics, what might have happened to these characters had they been black? Well, that question is answered in this new video:

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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James Gandolfini and the 7 Ways Comedians React To…

James Gandolfini passed away shockingly yesterday at the age of 51.  He was known primarily for his iconic performance/character of Tony Soprano and for being the face of one television’s greatest, if not the greatest, shows (my pre-Game of Thrones list has it at #6 on my favorite shows of all time).  But with an untimely death comes the ritual of comedians taking to social media immediately to offer RIPs, jokes and other comments.  I was particularly disturbed after Whitney Houston’s death only because I thought her talent was so singularly spectacular that it would have been nice for people to reflect and appreciate it for a minute or too before offering half-baked jokes.  Plus, it is worth noting that I saw a lot of trashing of Whitney Houston (black) for her drug problem – sometimes in the form of “Why do we care about this crackhead whore who did this to herself when we have troops and other real heroes dying,” and yet interestingly enough I have seen no calls for similar reflection from America’s social media heroes in the wake of grieving and reflection for the obese Gandolfini (white).  But rather than make this my usual tone of judgment I thought I would just offer the casual comedy observer the different types of responses that now come from comedians in the wake of a tragedy.  Enjoy!

1) Standard RIP message – this is made to either show appreciation for the man or woman’s work, but just as likely to let everyone know that you have heard the news and are hopefully either informing them, which makes you cool, or that you are feeling something profound, which makes you look warm.

2) Hack Joke – for example if you mentioned the ending of The Sopranos or Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ you need your comedy license revoked.  These always seem to happen so quickly to the point that you see 8 comedians with the same joke, and they are all Facebook friends sharing the same wall, but they still failed to realize that the joke was dead on arrival.

3) Video Clip and/or Photo RIP – I like these actually. The person is known for something so it makes sense to share.  Which is why I will share Kim and Ray J’s tape when Ray J dies.

4) Actually Funny Joke – after a day or more of respectful time usually, you can just go to www.Facebook.com/JLCauvin for these 🙂 but seriously folks… every so often someone posts something that manages to be a little gallows humor, but not too disrespectful and actually funny (or disrespectful, but really funny).  But if they do that and then spend the next 2 minutes telling you how good that joke was you are watching Anthony Jeselnick.  This is a great blog post people…

5) Unbelievable Emotional Post – This is the horsesh*t extension of #1 where someone with no emotional connection has a heartbreaking message.  99 out of 100 I don’t buy it, but just know that if Bryan Cranston meets an untimely death, my tears will be real.

6) We were friends post – You met the celebrity twice, but you refer to them as your friend, your spirit, your buddy, your dear friend or any other such nonsense. 

7) Fake Moral Outrage post – These are the folk who either take a celebrity’s death as a time to remind us about the troops or breast cancer or any other important thing, but they only do it on that day.  There were no posts about honor or important causes the day before.  They are like the Westboro Baptist Church – they show up to a social media mourning and then try to shame you with stuff they don’t care about most days, but become morally indignant just to fu*k with your appreciation.  Or they point out that the death was not a surprise or that they deserved it.  Hey – if the celebrity did not harm to others and they were talented it is OK to reflect on their skills and gifts without being told about the causes you rarely discuss during non celebrity mourning social media time.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic or iTunes. New Every Tuesday!

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What You Should Be Watching On Television

While spending a few hours on Facebook the other day I stumbled on to a discussion on my friend and comedian Nick Cobb’s page.  He was asking for a new show recommendation and friends of his were offering suggestions as to what they thought the best show of the last decade was and what the best show currently on is.  There were some sensible answers and some real awful answers.   Here are some examples and shows that did not make the cut:

THE LOSERS

House – who are you my parents? 

Lost – you are too stupid to appreciate the list I am putting together

Rome and Deadwood – these are the people that in a music discussion of the best band of all time would ignore the obvious rule that you MUST say Rolling Stones or Beatles (my favorite band is Guns N Roses, but my answer would be Rolling Stones).  Those who drop Rome and Deadwood – a good and a very good show, respectively – are the people who drop Nirvana in a “best band” discussion.  Shut your mouths and just accept that sometimes, like a broken clock, American culture gets it right.

John Adams – it’s a miniseries. read Nick Cobb’s question.

The Mentalist – seriously?  CBS is the network that produces dramas to make Jay Leno fans feel smart.

True Blood – a show that like Glee, seemed to realize that their main demographics were women and gays and decided – to hell with writing – we’ll just get everyone on this show in a gym, skimp on story and consistency and still draw ratings as long as we amp up the sex, gore and campiness.  Headed down a path of awfulness this season.  The real shame is that Alan Ball, who created a television masterpiece in Six Feet Under, is also listed as a creator of True Blood.  My guess is that after Six Feet Under he made a ton of money, found himself a trophy wife/husband (no idea what his sexuality is) and after season 1 of True Blood said – “Hey, you are shallow and pretty dumb – wanna write this show for me? Most of it is written in a book already – you will just have to add more breasts, blood and campiness?  What’s campiness?  Well you know when you think something is good? Right, like Paul Walker or Dexter – just write it with that same feeling.”

Dexter – I made it through one season.  Some of the worst acting I have ever seen.  Michael C Hall should die poor and be remembered for David Fisher than collect paychecks with that cast of nothings (though I hear John Lithgow was good in later seasons – too bad I give a show one full season to at least entice me.  It didn’t).

Special Note – Why I have no faith in Showtime – You may notice that Dexter is the only Showtime show even mentioned by me.  That is because Showtime is stupid.  Their shows are made with the following concept – can we write one character, line up one credible actor or actress and surround him or her with mediocre writing and acting?  Yes, well then we want to make your show!  Even USA at least says “CharacterS welcome.” Showtime’s phrase should be “Character welcome as long as long as character brings mediocre humor, drama and/or co-stars.”  I hate Showtime in all its forms – Lakers, Cable Television, etc.  If HBO, AMC, USA and Showtime all went to school together, HBO would be the Harvard bound quarterback, AMC would be the slightly arrogant and nerdy valedictorian, USA would be the guy who chicks inexplicably liked and Showtime would be a Goth kid.  No, it would be the girl that dates the goth kid, but is not goth herself.  Loser.

Treme – wake me up from my coma – have they cancelled it yet?

Mad Men– Mad Men to me is once again, like sushi – it is something that lots of people like, but also something that lots of people like to say they like because they want to be people who like things like sushi and jazz and other overrated things.  Mad Men is a well done show.  But like Treme, Mad Men sometimes feels like a documentary on early 1960s life, which can be somewhat boring.  I found Season 3 of Mad Men (until an admittedly great finale) to be an excruciatingly boring endeavor.  I often defend shows like The Wire by praising its authenticity, but it helps that there is actually some intriguing plot development to go with the realism. 

So here for all of you is the definitive list of what shows from the last 10 years you should watch.  It is objectively correct.

1) Six Feet Under – Funny, moving and the most realistic look at relationships and human fears of any show ever made, by far.  if the show feels “too gay” for you, rent Queer As Folk, watch it and then re-start Six Feet Under.  f the show is too troubling or upsetting for you then it is working.  And it is widely and justly considered to have the greatest finale in television history – take that MASH!

The Fisher Family will change your life.

2) The Wire– Would be number one, but Six Feet Under is just more personal.  If this show is too slow for you, then watch The Shield and consider yourself ignorant.  If the show is too black for you, watch Southland and consider yourself slightly racist.

3) Arrested Development – The best comedy I have ever seen.  Nothing is actually close, especially this decade.  So naturally it only made it three seasons on television.  I blame the South.

4) The West Wing– If this show is too political for you, then you are dumb.  As impressive as the dialogue, plot and acting is, the details of the show are incredible. To say nothing of the fact that they basically predicted the election of Barack Obama before he had even announced his candidacy.

5) The Sopranos – The first of the Big Three for HBO (Seriously in an 8 year period HBO dropped Six Feet Under, The Wire and The Sopranos on America – to me that will go down as the greatest accomplishment in original television programming).  Sopranos, unlike The Wire and Six Feet Under did not quite end in a way that met with its overall impact and quality.

6) Breaking Bad– the best show on television right now by a mile.  It is dark, filled with tension and excitement, well acted and yet feels incredibly plausible and realistic at the same time.  This is the first drama I have seen that clearly indicates that HBO has dropped the ball recently.  Mad Men gets mentioned as the one HBO let get away (especially because that might have meant naked Joan!), but Breaking Bad is so superior to Mad Men it’s a joke.  More entertaining without sacrificing anything in terms of writing or acting quality.  If the show can finish with way its first three seasons began then it may move towards the top of this list.

Here's an objective truth about a show about a scientist - Breaking Bad is the best show on television.

I feel I must mention Eastbound and Down (but only 1 six episode season to show so far) and I have not seen In Treatment – an HBO show that has been highly recommended to me.  Other than that those 6 shows above will entertain you and raise your expectations for what television can do.  Then when you are done with them you will look down on most other people’s television show opinions like only a condescending six-foot-seven comedian can.

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My Top HBO Characters of All Time

Being 2 discs away from finishing 6 Feet Under via Netflix I was thinking of how amazing the roster of HBO shows has been.  This also happened because I was watching Lost last night and thought, “Wow, this is supposed to be one of the best shows on Network television and it is basically a big budget mediocrity.”  Other than The West Wing and Arrested Development I don’t think I have seen anything on Network television to compare with HBO’s level of quality (all due respect to the CSI fans who adore that crappy franchise).  AMC is doing some good things (the slightly overrated Mad men and the very under-praised Breaking Bad), but HBO really is the cream of the crop (even though True Blood and Big Love, the two flagships shows at this point, are not close to the incredible things HBO produced last decade).  And I know that some people out there love Showtime, but having watched several episodes of Showtime shows they feel like a good junior varsity team to HBO’s state title winning varsity. 

So without any more explanations or caveats here are my top 13 HBO characters of all time (apologies in advance to the Crypt Keeper, the cast of Not Necessarily The News, everybody from Dream On (terrible) and The Larry Sanders Show (never saw it, but heard it was good stuff back in the day):

13) (tie) Dennis Hof – Cathouse and Lafayette – True Blood.  This is the only reality character on the list, but how can a guy who looks like Rush Limbaugh and acts like pre-wheelchair Larry Flynt not be on the list.  the Cathouse series, which follows a real life Nevada brothel features many women have sex, which is a relief because at least when you turn it on ou know what you are getting, as opposed to the HBO Real Sex series which could just as soon ambush you with a segment on nursing home gang bangs as they could with attractive women.  Dennis is the supreme scumbag that makes the show go with his array of women from the daddy issue-riddled, to the tranny looking one to the midget.  One thing is obvious – he has had sex with all of them.

Don't be fooled by her smile - he's definitely fu-king her.

Speaking to HBO’s diversity, Lafayette, the drug dealing, sassy gay black short-order cook/male prostitute on True Blood is only the first of two gay black men on this short list.

Hooker please.

12) Murray – Flight of the Conchords – The show’s first season was very good.  The second season was incredibly mediocre.  With all due respect to Jemaine – Murray was the extremely poor man’s Ari Gold on this show, literally.  Sadly, the actor that plays Murray is intent on beating the dead horse in a series of new commercials for some product where he is basically playing the same character, but with far fewer laughs.

Murray? Present.

11) Ralphie – The Sopranos. Sadly Ralphie only got two seasons on The Sopranos (3 & 4), but he won an Emmy for the second one and created a character hated above all in his first season and then, once accepted, became the funniest character on the show.  For me, his signature line will be after being confronted by Tony Soprano after beating to death a stripper carrying his child he simply yelled, “First of all she was a whoooour!”

Bad temper, good sense of humor - it's me!

10) Samantha – Sex and the City.  It would be hard, even for a misogynist, to leave off all characters from HBO’s third most popular show of all time. So I picked Samantha, who turned man-like sexual cravings into “empowerment” for women ages 17-60.  My favorite scene of hers may have been when she was dating Smith, a model who would be more likely to visit Samantha in the course of volunteer work at a nursing home than to actually bed her, and she runs into her ex-boyfriend Richard at a party. In front of Smith she goes upstairs with Richard and gets railed from behind and then comes down crying to Smith, saying “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”  Message? Empowerment.

That's the number of sexual partners Sam Jones established as meaning "empowered."

9) Lester Freamon – The Wire. The first of three characters from The Wire.  Quiet, unassuming and the best detective on the show.  My favorite moment, after coming up with evidence off of a soda can to potentially catch a cop shooter he is asked what unit he’s from. He replies with a straight face: “pawn shop.”  You have to watch the show to get that, but it was great.

The smart side of police work.

8) Tony Soprano – The Sopranos.  Nothing much needs to be said, except for the fact that he is only the second best character on the show (and no, the Bada Bing club is not #1).

Mommy issues.

7) Kenny Powers – Eastbound and Down.  Racist, stupid and angry. If he had not been a baseball player, he might have been leading a Tea Party movement.  Who knows if the shows subsequent season(s) will match the perfection of the first, but it takes a special character to make the line “I love you April, and not just in a make me come kind of way,” mean something, especially when said at an 8th grade dance.

Author of "I'm fu-king in and you're fu-king out!"

6) Al Swearengen – Deadwood. In a word? Cu*t.

Tony Soprano, if Tony did not have so much respect for women.

5) Ari Gold – Entourage.  This show is like watching the Cleveland Cavaliers play basketball a few years ago. It was LeBron James doing amazing things and four guys around him barely keeping up.  I thought after the first season they should have spun the show off and made it about Ari. They didn’t and now it’s a mediocre show with one dominating star.  But he still makes the show worth tuning in to each week that it’s on.

90% of all positive things on Entourage are a result of Ari Gold.

4) Omar – The Wire.  People reading this may have expected Omar at #1, but that would be too easy. I figured I’d sneak up on you like Kenard and… well, I don’t want to give away anything to the people who are just getting over their fear of Negros and Negro-filled shows, but Omar was the most entertaining character on the best show ever for sure, but he’s only my #2 from it.  Indeed.

If you thought he'd be #1 you were wrong.

3) Nate Fisher – Six Feet Under.  I don’t think any character on any HBO show (or any show for that matter – though Walter White on Breaking Bad is doing a nice job) has taken as varied an emotional journey as Nate Fisher.  At times he is both the most identifiable and the most polarizing figure on this unbelievable great show (Seriously, the fact that at one point HBO had The Sopranos, 6 Feet Under, The Wire all at the same time is like an NBA team having LeBron, Kobe and Kevin Durant at the same time – I think The West Wing would be Dwayane Wade for this analogy). 

Women would learn more by watching him than by watching Sex and the City (caveat - you may or may not like what you learn).

2) Tony Soprano’s Mom – Perhaps you forgot about her because she only made it on to the first two seasons of the show, but it says something that the show went from an A+ to an A without her.  The idea that a woman could be evil or just experiencing dementia, or possibly both was brilliant and gave Tony the best conflict on the show until he and his wife hit the skids in season 4.  Tony’s Mom was an absolutely brilliant character and played brilliantly.  Menacing and funny all at once. 

It's been a while, but don't forget how great/terrible Tony's Mom was.

1) Stringer Bell – The Wire.  I had a friend once tell me that she was going to see the movie Obsessed with that handsome black guy and Beyonce.  I replied that’s Stringer Bell from the Wire. She replied, i don’t even remember him from the Wire.  There are only two possibilities here and I will just propose the second – she missed the first 3 seasons of the Wire.  Omar got all the hype, McNulty got all the posters, but I found the intelligent criminal Cain to Avon Barksdale’s Abel the best HBO character of all time.  Watching Stringer try, but fail, to bring the Barksdale drug business into the legitimate world of Real Estate showed that the “legit” world is just as corrupt as the drug trade (as my brother told me – what is so different than the operation of Starbucks and the corner boys in The Wire – you give money and order to one person, then walk around to another area to pick up the product – he was kidding.  The difference is obvious – if coffee were made illegal a lot more white people would be killing each other than black folks on The Wire). 

On a side note, I was told a couple of years ago that the actor that played Stringer was a doorman at Caroline’s at night while he auditioned during the day.  More evidence that everyone in the comedy business except comics can make money. Congratulations Stringer Bell – you are #1.

Former doorman at Caroline's makes good.
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First Comic Sitting

Well, today I had an audition for Last Comic Standing.  I did two minutes in front of three big time pros: Andy Kindler (very respected comedian), Natasha Leggero (who sort of reminded me of the lead singer of The Bangles – niiiiice) and one of my two favorite comedians, Greg Giraldo (Chris Rock the other).

From the title you can tell that I did not advance and sadly I completely agreed with the judges.  However, there is something profoundly crippling when one of your idols in your business tells you, as nicely as possible, that it wasn’t good enough.  Sort of like how Michael Jordan ruined Kwame Brown’s career by continually berating him and calling him a “faggot” in practice when he was an 18 year old rookie with the Wizards.  Kwame was never a good player after that, though he did his best to dispel the epithet by fathering a starting five and two subs with numerous women (at last check).  None of the judges were mean at all – they were quite nice and refreshingly constructive, but I hope that was not because I am almost the size of Kwame Brown and they are not Michael Jordan’s size.  I must admit though, that when Giraldo went to speak and I could see from his expression that it was going to be a very lukewarm appraisal it was one of the most painful moments of my career. 

I hope I don't end up the Kwame Brown of comedy.

I guess I came prepared with a sort of a generic set that may have worked with producers in the past, but with real, genuine comedians of a high order judging, that was a big mistake.  It seems whenever I audition for something I play it safe, probably because auditions terrify me. 

What is so bitter to take is that this season could be great and come with an extra stamp of legitimacy because of who is judging and selecting.  Of course there are funny people who will not make it, but if Greg Giraldo says you are a good comedian, it carries with it some real street cred that Bobby Baccala from The Sopranos (previous celebrity judge) just does not have.

On a plus, they thought my Obama impression was really good.  But Giraldo thought the premise surrounding the impression was too convoluted (which as soon as he said it I thought – “of course it is – FU-K!”).  As I left Gotham Comedy Club – my brain began to re-work jokes, but not to make a show, but because their advice, even on the two minutes of material, could actually make me a better comedian.  I guess if their feedback can help me make my material better then there is a silver lining.  It might have been helpful if one of them told me to give up also.  Time will tell on that one.

Good luck to Nick Cobb, David Cope, Luke Cunningham, Myq Kaplan and any other friends who have moved on.

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My Ten Favorite Things From 2009

No movies made this list (but I have already given you my Top Ten of the Year, so they don’t really need another platform anyway).  Not everything is from this year, but they were read, viewed, worn or observed by me this year.

10. Fred Armisen.  In a year that had some ups and downs, he represented both.  He gave what is the least funny impression ever on Saturday Night Live and he did it week after week.  To quote Forrest Whitaker’s character from The Shield, “It’s like he is pissing in my mouth!”  But the bright side of that is that one year in there is still a void for a decent Obama impression.  If ever there was hope for me in 2010…

You give me hope Fred Armisen.  Hope that SNL will change who does Obama.
You give me hope Fred Armisen. Hope that SNL will change who does Obama.

9. Arrested Development – I know this show is older, but I watched the first three seasons on Netflix this year and it is the funniest multi-season show I have ever seen (important distinction hint hint).  If you have not seen it, you should.

8. Laid Off/Full Time Comedian

According to my biopic script:

I walked out from the law firm that had crushed my soul with a defiant stride knowing that although I was taking a risk pursuing comedy full time I had the confidence of knowing that I would follow my dream and in the end be a success.  I was also touched by the slow clap I received from all my co-workers as I left on my last day.

According to reality:

I planned on going to do comedy full time in 2009 at some point, but given the economic climate and the generally good feeling of a swollen bank account (from a pretty nice place to work as law firms go) I probably needed the push, or shove, of being laid off to pursue comedy full time.  Now my dream still feels attainable, but is starting to resemble a bad acid trip as much as it does a dream on its way to fulfillment.

7. Steeler Super Bowl – This was cool because it was a great game and washed away memories of the only Super Bowl the Steelers had won in my lifetime – Super Bowl XL (40), which was the worst Super Bowl ever played.  I also cannot put the Yankees title on here, because although I like many of the players, something about that victory felt like cheering Goldman Sachs’ bankers when they date rape your daughter and your pension fund.  Of course the Steelers did not help themselves with their “ni-ger” shouting fans this season, but perhaps a poor season will be their punishment for having racist fans.

6. Obama’s Inauguration/Nixonland – Such a cool moment when Obama was inaugurated.  Even cooler was being able to predict how half of America would turn on him as soon as they could and how his young supporters would realize that politics is work and detail and compromise and not a pop culture reality show called For The Love of Obama on VH1.  I always bet on old people in the long term in politics and in 2010 the book Nixonland will prove quite prescient when the Republicans break through the 60 voting block in the Senate and win about 30 seats back in the House.  If you like politics or just want to predict the 2010 election read Nixonland.  But January 20, 2009 was still a great day.  The country was divided on September 10, 2001 and after 9/11 the country rallied around Bush (91% approval, after being dismally low before).  Do you think if the same happened today the country would rally around its President?  I am guessing not.

5. The West Wing – Watched the entire seven seasons on DVD in 5 weeks.  The greatest dramatic series I have ever watched not named The Wire.  Sorry The Sopranos I think you’re great as well, but the detail and the writing of The West Wing was intimidating in its brilliance.

4. New York’s Funniest Comedian – I am still waiting for an e-mail response(to a very politely and respectfully worded e-mail) from a certain comedy club as to why I never got a call back, despite being promised a spot in a showcase and simultaneously being denied a chance to audition because it was unnecessary.  This moment was a low point in my comedy naivete, but also a wake up call that was invaluable.  That is not to say that 40 years from now when I am sitting a lone in a mansion, miserably counting my money in the dark, that I won’t assault, with a bowling pin, some booker or manager or assistant sycophant who shows up to my home.  That reminds me, I think my next CD will be entitled “I’m Finished!”

Sure I will do your show.  But first you have to tell me that bringers and cattle calls are bullsh*t and that you have made false promises.
Sure I will do your show. But first you have to tell me that bringers and cattle calls are bullsh*t and that you have made false promises.

3. The Bonfire of the Vanities – The most enjoyable piece of fiction I have ever read.  Did for novel writing what The West Wing did for me in terms of television.  As Salieri said of Mozart’s music in Amadeus, “Remove one note and there would be diminishment.” That is how I felt about every sentence of this 600+ page novel, which is just as relevant today as it was 22 years ago.  Just don’t see the movie before or after reading it. 

2. Paul Millsap Jersey – I received this gift Christmas 2008, but I did not wear it until this hoops season.  If it’s the thought that counts, then I have never received a better gift in my life.  And I seem to be the only person outside of Utah to possess one, which makes it even more exceptional if you consider things in Utah fashionable. 

The jersey may look ugly to you, but when I got it as a present it made me very happy.
The jersey may look ugly to you, but when I got it as a present it made me very happy.

1. Eastbound and Down – So this is the answer to the question what could be better than great literature, historic national elections, pursuing your dream or seeing your team win a title?  That’s right – a fu-king redneck.  If Eastbound and Down ended after only these 6 episodes it would be like Guns N Roses dying after releasing Appetite For Destruction – a perfect debut to live on forever.  So apologies to my girlfriend, Barack Obama, Tom Wolfe, Jason Bateman, The Steelers, stand up comedy, and everything else that went on this year, but my favorite thing this year was a foul mouthed racist pitcher form Shelby, North Carolina – Mr. Kenny Powers.

And feel free to support Kenny Powers with a Kenny Powers jersey: Kenny Powers Jersey

2009 was your motherfu-kin' year Kenny Powers.
2009 was your motherfu-kin' year Kenny Powers.

Have a Happy New Year readers and fans.  All 6 of you.

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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.

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Inside My Acting Studio

Tonight I begin taking an acting class.  I figure if I can expand my skill set beyond stand up and add acting to my entertainment resume I will double my chance of exposure and “making it” to 1 in 500,000.   Getting into comedic acting seems to be like getting into  SUV manufacturing in Detroit.   Great dramas are not really being made either.  The Sopranos, The Wire and The West Wing have given way Jay Leno’s Comedy Hour on NBC and the largest collection of stupid, unrealistic crime shows ever compiled known as CBS. 

CSI: Crummy Sh*t for Idiots - NOW CUE THE WHO!!!!!!
CSI: Crummy Sh*t for Idiots - NOW CUE THE WHO!!!!!!

So, with the American people and television executives conspiring to produce cheap, thoughtless entertainment I asked the acting coach one question: Can You make Me A Reality Television Star?

She responded with many more questions for me:

Are you an abrasive black woman?  No.

Are you a wealthy, bitchy white woman between the age of 16 and 54? No.

Can you sing? No.

Are you morbidly obese?  Not yet.

Are you incredibly stupid? No.

Can you dance?  Not really.

Can you cook? No.

Are you flamingly gay and good at knitting? No and no.

Are you in a terrible relationship and feel like doing a lot of travelling? Nope.

Are you poor and in need of a new home?  Not yet.

Have you appeared in any sex videos or done anything to completely shame your family? Not to my knowledge.

Do you have a ton of kids and are willing to be a terrible and abusive parent by putting their lives in front of a camera for a voyeuristic and increasingly stupid American people? No and no.

Well then it looks like you better hope that stand up comedy works out for you. 

Welcome to the reality show douchebag track.
Welcome to the reality show douchebag track.