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Dominican Woman… Stay the fu*k away from me!

This weekend I attended a wedding with my girlfriend in the Dominican Republic.   We soaked up the Sun and all the Dominican culture that can be absorbed in the confines of an all-inclusive, gated-off resort community, which is significantly less than a ride on the A train.  The wedding and the weekend were all relatively normal.  I ate too much, got a good tan and did not get in trouble looking for Dominican eye candy (sorry DR, but Puerto Rican ladies are the undisputed champs of Bronx-dominating Latinas). 

The only real notable highlight came at the Punta Cana airport this morning when going through security (which made me feel about as safe as having the Shoe Bomber fit me for sneakers at Foot Locker) I witnessed something so hysterical and awful that I titled this blog after it.

Two women, presumably a Latin mother-daughter combo, were trying to check-in for their flight, but had not obeyed all security protocols (it appeared they had not declared or checked certain items purchased in the Dominican Republic).  As two airport security (the Dominican equivalent of TSA) discussed this with them the women responded with dismissive Spanish.  However, the security did not let up, because they rudely wanted these women to obey guidelines, which then prompted the younger woman to speak English and say (get ready for a stereotype on steroids):

“Ok, you need to get out of my face because you are starting to fu*king piss me off.”

She then threw her suitcase to the ground and said:

“Do what you got to do.”

I was amazed.  Can you just do that?  Can you curse and threaten airport security as long as there is a stereotype that says you are crazy and passionate?  I was hoping to see them get tased.  Or at least physically assaulted.   I had alwaysthought Rosie Perez’ performance in White Men Can’t Jump was an embarrassing Latina Steppin’ Fetchit, but now it turns out that she could have made it much more extreme.

I cannot do this experience justice, but this was the funniest thing I saw on my travels so I thought Id relay it to you loyal 13 readers.  Better stuff to come soon.

In other news – while I was away a former classmate of mine from Riverdale (and Facebook friend) was arrested on charges that he murdered his father.  Deleting friend dilemma – street cred for my Facebook page, or murderer free friend list? Choices, choices…

And lastly – my predicted finish in Last Comic Standing by the way:

1) Tommy Johnigan

2) Roy Wood Jr.

3) Mike Destefano (My Mom’s choice)

4) Myq Kaplan

5) Felipe Esparza (the only one I am sure of, unless America is even dumber than I think)

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The Cleveland Show

Important statistics from this week:

  • 1 show at the Cleveland Improv- 15 minute set
  • 24 hours on Amtrak to and from Cleveland, Ohio within a 51 hour span
  • 1 cold/flu obtained
  • 700 page book on basketball read
Hello Cleveland.
Hello Cleveland.

On Tuesday I set off on Amtrak for Cleveland, Ohio to do a set at the Cleveland Improv.  It was a 3:45 train, which was scheduled to arrive in Cleveland in a manageable 11 hours, 42 minutes.   I really like the train.  Anything under 12 hours I consider enjoyable.  It has an old school charm, in a way, but instead of travelling the rails with people who look and dress like Don and Betty Draper, it now really just consists of people who cannot fit in airplane seats (the morbidly obese and in my case, the semi-freakishly tall) and those that want to avoid TSA for profiling and legal status related issues.

Couldn't afford two seats on Southwest.
Couldn't afford two seats on Southwest.

On the train ride to Cleveland I managed to write the next brilliant, but under-viewed and underappreciated JLCauvin.com sketch and read 300 pages in Bill Simmons’ The Book of Basketball.  About half way through the trip I felt the symptoms of a cold coming on, which I blame half on my Atlantic City drinking binge/sleep deprivation last weekend that may have left me susceptible to illness, and the health industry’s biggest customers that I was entombed with on Amtrak.

I arrived at the Doubletree in downtown Cleveland at 4:10 am.  I fear that one day my nomadic travel schedule and odd hours, along with my menacing frame, will lead me to be the chief suspect in some disappearance/serial killer case.  “The last I saw Mary Jo she was coming back from the bar around 3 am.  To think of it I did see a rather large, rather unhappy looking man around 4 am that same night.” NY Post headline the next day: Comic Kills!

He had the same lifestyle as a comedian.
He had the same lifestyle as a comedian.

The next day I hung out most of the day at The Cleveland Improv (extremely nice club) and at the Rock Bottom restaurant above (I am sensing a message from above since I keep ending up in that restaurant chain in different cities). 

The show that night was an open mic night where local comics are given 4 minutes each and a few visiting comics are given longer sets to audition for emcee and feature work.  4 minutes may not seem like a long time, but the good news is the club does not make it a bringer for the young comics, so unlike other places, dreams are not manipulated and raped by club owners.  Not to mention that the booker of the Cleveland Improv has without question the best track record in returning phone calls and e-mails of any club with which I have dealt.  But it’s like Sinatra said about NY, “If you can, duh duh, make it there, then you are probably with the right booking agency or sucking the right di-k.”

For my set I got to follow an older comedian with Cancer who is undergoing chemo.  In one of my best off the cuff comments of my career so far the first thing I said on stage (with a well timed sniffle) was: “Well, I though I might get some slack from you guys because I have a pretty bad cold, but I guess that excuse is fu-ked now.”

I went through my set doing quite well until about the 11 minute mark.  Then 2 of my last 3 bits (including the Mariano Rivera of my set – Obama impression) fell flat.  There were three forces at work that I believed caused this: the checks were getting dropped on tables, my voice was dying on me and as the booker told me, Midwest crowds are slower, belly laughers (this last one may be the greatest euphemism of all time).  Overall it went well and I think it was worth the trip.  At least the trip going.

The trip coming back (a 5:20 am Amtrak the next morning, arriving at 6:25 pm in NYC) was like being Joel McHale’s character on Community.  I don’t like to pick on special needs folk, but about three seats back from me was a man by himself who literally spoke for about 4 hours with very little break to an elderly couple who were sort of being polite.  The main problem was that, as if some sort of stereotype from a Carlos Mencia bit, he just kept shouting out things like, “I like the train more than flying,” followed quickly by non sequiturs that expressed interest or joy in something.

The stars of the trip were not that guy, but the crazy (literally) guy who kept walking from the cafe car and back talking to himself and the woman who sat in front of me and kept having incredibly loud cell phone conversations.  Here was my tally of phrases she used and how many times she used them on the train:

  • “You know what I’m sayin” – 1,187
  • “He think he can play me but I’m playin’ him” – 66
  • “Sorry, but she caught me on the phone and I was like ‘I need to go'” – only 1 time, but this is funny how she was blaming her her other friend for keeping her on the phone, even though it appeared that her friend said almost nothing.

So I can tell you when I need to go back to Cleveland for more extensive work I am definitely going to upgrade and take Greyhound. 

Fu-k!
Fu-k!
Blog

Asheville Recap: From TSA to TNA

This weekend I was in Asheville, North Carolina for the Laugh Your Asheville Off Festival.  Here is the whimsical recap:

I woke up at 530 AM to get my flight from Newark.  Not my first choice, but when it is a free flight from American Express you go to Newark.  For anybody that doubts the toughness of Newark, NJ you need to look no further than their TSA agents.  A woman in her early 50s obviously gave a Napoleanic TSA agent some guff when she was told that she would need to have a separate screening.  I did not hear what she said, but she received a “you got something to say?” from the TSA agent.  Actually she received about 4 “you got something to say’s,” with each one drawing the TSA agent closer until he was literally in her face, which was followed by her silence.  He then said, “that’s what I thought,” and started walking away, to which she started saying something, which was followed by TSA agent turning around and walking back saying, “Don’t start talking when I turn around baby girl.” Now to clarify the tension this was not some sassy black queen talking to this woman, but a slightly more thuggish young man, so it probably didn’t help when I kept muttering, “hit the bitch.”  When it was my turn I looked at him and said, “You think you bad?  You ain’t bad!  You ain’t nothin’!”  So my trip started with an inauspicious start, as I thought of something that sounds like a tag from a terrible horror or thriller movie, “The TSA protects you from terrorists, but who will protect you from the TSA?”

Newark TSA: Let me see your motherfu-kin' boarding pass bitch!
Newark TSA: Let me see your motherfu-kin' boarding pass bitch!

So I arrived in Asheville on one of the smoothest small plane rides I can ever remember and had plenty of time to kill before my 930 pm show.  I had lunch with the producers of the show, which was nice and allowed me to get the scoop on the Asheville scene (bottom line – if you are a comedian and get a chance to do a show there – do it).

Then I spent the next few hours in my Super 8 Motel room working on my set, but then I got hungry. Seeking an authentic Southern experience I went to the only non-Waffle House across from my motel: Hooters.

There are several things strange about my trip to Hooters.  I brought a book to read, which already can indicate homosexuality to certain neanderthal thinkers at anytime, but bringing a book into Hooters is like going to a Neanderthal meeting and saying I prefer tales of Richard Nixon’s election in 1968 to breasts.  But I brought the book simply to avoid gazing into the dead eyes of the waitresses.  Another strange thing was that the televisions were playing That’s So Raven on the Disney channel.   It seemed ironic to me, but maybe Hooters can be a family restaurant,considering that signs at the restaurant indicated that today was Conceive Your Daughter At Work Day.  I kid the Hooters waitresses – but I felt like I should be pimping them to come to New York, “Ladies you know what pretty girls with big boobs can get in NYC?  Anything you want!  But you’ll want to lose that cheerful attitude.”

PYOT: Pretty Young Objectified Things!
PYOT: Pretty Young Objectified Things!

Then it was time to go over for the night’s shows.  The shuttle from the Motel was basically a golf cart, but less masculine and cool (my door closed by Velcro).  It would have been less humiliating to arrive at the show dressed as Professor Dumbledore riding a Big Wheels truck.  This was at 6 pm, which only meant that I had 6 hours until my set.   After waiting for what felt like an eternity I went on and had a great set in front of an amazing crowd.  Really amazing. 

After the show a guy came up to me to tell me that he thought the Obama impression was really good and that he is an impressionist and is struggling to get an Obama.  I very much wanted to go Kenny Powers on him and say, “Actually I don’t understand you.  I’m a comedian, not trying to be the best at imitating,” which is a lie since I like doing impressions, but it would have been funny to me to say that.

The next morning was Waffle House time, where I ate a ton of food for $7 before getting on my flight back to Newark.  it was very bumpy the whole way back and then I realized that we had a female pilot and co-pilot.  I have never seen that before, but other than the emotional instability of the flight it was pretty much a normal flight.

Water, no ice and some peanuts ple-ohhh sorry.  Awwwwkward.
Water, no ice and some peanuts ple-ohhh sorry. Awwwwkward.