Road Comedy Recap: Lofty Heights in a DC Basement

This weekend, 21 years after the first month I went to my first open mic in Washington, DC to begin one of the most frustrating experiences of my life, I returned to the nation’s capital for four shows at the DC Comedy Loft (ironically enough across the street from one of the first places I ever performed at).  There was classy Amtrak travel, podcasting that aged horribly 8 hours later when President Biden took the debate stage, 4 great shows in front of 3 great crowds and an 11 person meeting, 2 meals at the Cheesecake Factory, a reunion from my days as a prosecutor in the Bronx and a tremendous amount of sweat.  So let’s get into this epic!

Thursday Tired Thursday

I woke up at 5am for no reason Thursday so I went and worked out in my building, making it one consecutive days of exercise before I caught the 9:15am Acela from Newark to DC. The shows were Friday & Saturday, but a fan turned friend has a podcast called Political Shadings that he wanted me to be an in studio guest for.  And when he said, “we can get you a hotel for the night” I thought, perfect! One of my pet peeves about road comedy is arriving in a city after a day of travel and having to perform that night.  This would allow me to settle in, have dinner with a buddy and relax.  Except after the podcast (which was recorded less than a day before the Biden-Trump debate (my take is hilariously bad in hindsight) and the overruling of Chevron by the Supreme Court (solid work by me) I agreed to co-host a live zoom event with Pete Dominick, which would leave me depressed (because of President Biden) and exhausted (I went to bed at 1am). So much for a relaxing day before showtime.

Friday: Moving Day

On Friday I first woke up at 3:30am. That sucked, but since 2020 my brain has been permanently wired it seems so good sleep only really comes with complete exhaustion. I fell back asleep and went downstairs for the Residence Inn complimentary breakfast.  Shout out to Political Shadings (the episode should be available Monday – definitely listen) for the great hotel room and breakfast.  And, just to let you know why I am a Hampton Inn type hotel guy.  I am usually not a fan of the super upscale places. It’s like, “for the privilege of paying triple what you need to for a hotel room, we will also charge you for meals, internet, the gym and eye contact.” I like the “clean room, free Internet, free breakfast” places.  I will highlight that as part of my “man of the people” marketing for my Senate campaign.

I checked out of my hotel and headed to the comedy club provided hotel, which was about a mile away (in a J-L Jinx type irony, the Residence Inn was across the street from the club). I checked into that hotel, which had a “is this a niche, boutique hotel or part of the Bates Motel family of hotels?” vibe. My hotel appeared safe and well air-conditioned so I settled in to watch some CNN and continue mapping my set for Fridays shows, but the hotel did not have CNN. It had CNN Headline News. So for the next two days I was forced to read the news like my ancestors did before me.

I had an early dinner at the nearby Cheesecake Factory (as I said on stage, “when in DC I like to go where the power players dine”) where I had the salmon and skipped dessert because my girlfriend texted me and said no cheesecake. I said truthfully that I had not had cheesecake… that meal.

That night I headed out for the DC Comedy Loft. It was warm, but not as warm as I expected so I walked the mile and, of course, arrived at the club sweating like a fat fu*k. I had a half hour to cool off, which I did and then it was time for the show. Openers did a great job and then I killed it, which was a relief because the whole set, sans two jokes, is all new material from the last 6 months.  And there was extra pressure because friends and colleagues of my brother and sister-in-law showed up and even 21 years into this I am nervous to embarrass myself and have it get back to my family.  Sold a lot of merch and walked back to my hotel (only saw one giant water bug).

Me, judging something or someone from the stage

I arrived back in my hotel room and turned down my sheets and saw what can only be described as ,which I learned is owned by the club owners and had a wonderful night of sleep.

Saturday: Faith and Funny Conference

I woke up and headed to the nearby Starbucks to read and have some disgusting coffee (seriously, Starbucks made the right move making drinks for children and immature adults because their coffee tastes like burned motor oil). I then went to the Cheesecake Factory again, this time for lunch and had the Factory Meatloaf. The stacked Latin woman who brought it to me said “I always tell people this is my favorite” and then I said I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that” and she said “huh?” and the moment was lost.  But obviously if you know me or have followed any thing I’ve done you know that a hot Latin woman bringing me Cheesecake Factory food is pretty much the only porn category that I would subscribe to.  I went for a long walk after my meal, which I had finished off with a coconut cream pie cheesecake (low key might be a top 3 on the menu), all the way to Georgetown University Law Center to see how the institution that drove me into comedy was doing. It looked nice and I then went back to my hotel.

At 515pm I made my way to the Cathedral of St Michael the Apostle. I love this Church. It is so beautiful and it is always a safe bet for the paparazzi to catch shots of me on my trips to DC.  After the service I walked up to the Sweetgreen at Dupont Circle and ate a Kale Caesar salad while a table of young people (mid 20s?) discussed how they were going to see Taylor Tomlinson at the DC Improv. I said, “you could see me!” And they said who are you? And I said, “Ask your grandparents, they probably love my sh*t on YouTube!”

There is a gay bar next to the club so either the glass needed to be cleaned before I got there or the fellas were really excited to see me

Saturday early show was my best set of the weekend.  Clips will go up on my Patreon and maybe even one or two publicly, but not too much as I obviously want to keep developing this new hour or so of material.  The second show was not quite as good, but I think that was just my energy dipping a little. A bit I’ve been struggling with working on about the history of DJs finally hit big with that late crowd, probably saving it from the trash heap of the (extremely rare) jokes I write that don’t crush.  Met up with various people from my life after Saturday shows, including a former colleague from my days as a prosecutor who is now in DC after a multi decade career working for the [Redacted].

In a reversal of the J-L Jinx, the DC Comedy Loft lost most of its air conditioning, except in the room I was performing in.  When I left at 1245am after talking to my girlfriend’s friends (she grew up in northern VA) and it was finally clear to call the escort service, I bought a vanilla milkshake and walked back to the hotel in maybe the most humidity I have ever experienced.  I saw one rat and fell asleep at about 2am.

Sunday – Time to Leave

I woke up at 8am, took a shower (was too tired to take my 2nd shower in 10 hours when I got back the night before) and eventually made my way to Union Station to take my First Class Acela trip home.  I had a 4 seater to myself and dined and read my book like the wealthy scholar that I am not.

The trip to DC was great. The shows were great. The support from fans, friends and the club was great (though I have noticed that a lot of the fair weather folk from 2021-22 have disappeared so in my delusional, Michael Jordan-bulletin board for slights-type attitude, if you are not coming to see me drop majestic new material in DC now (but seeing awful hacks with more heat) I will not acknowledge you when that heat swings back on me. Just wanted to end the fun blog on an absolutely true and menacing note!

Finishing the trip with some crepes for the guy with the French name

Road Comedy Recap: The King of Martin Luther Comedy

This week’s comedy destination was Washington, D.C. for 6 shows at the DC Improv.  Because I had to put myself up in a hotel I did what I do with all comedy trips that won’t make me much profit… I asked my girlfriend to join me for a weekend getaway (this is the way that I rationalize my comedy career – rather than being a struggling feature, trying to make a profit I instantly become a guy who gets paid a few bucks to take his girlfriend on vacation). #CheapVacationMogul.  I arrived Thursday solo at the Westin City Center. It was a very nice hotel that I was able to swing a good deal on through I knew it was a nice hotel because nothing was included. Internet, breakfast and prostitutes were all additional fees. Normally when I go to a hotel it’s a Hampton Inn where they give you Internet, a waffle iron and a townie 7 to warm your bed, all for $62 a night. No such luck with the DC Westin.  My favorite thing about hotels like this are the breakfast options.  “You can have a thimble of coffee and one scrambled egg for $25.50… or our buffet which features, eggs, pancakes, french toast, pastries, cereal, an omelette station and a therapy dog for $26.00.”  Hmmmmmmmm, can you come back and let me consult with Jared Kushner on the pros and cons of both options?  So as I write this in a coffee shop (I had to check out of the Westin at noon, which leaves me as a nomad in DC for 5 hours before Mass and comedy tonight before hopping the 1010pm train back to NYC) here is a recap of the week in quips and photos:

Thidepiece Thursday

With my lady not arriving until Friday morning, Thursday became “Thidepiece Thursday.”  Only one fan showed up (thank you The Black Guy Who Tips for having the most engaged and loyal fans anywhere) and she was attractive, but unfortunately she did not get the memo about Thidepiece Thursday because she rolled in with her man. Maybe because he felt guilty about violating Thidepiece Thursday etiquette by showing up or because no one had bought any of my merchandise after the show, but he bought all three albums I had for sale as he and his lady were happy with the show.  So I guess I will let it slide.

But after the 1 pity purchase I texted my girlfriend at 12:01 am (First Lady Fridays) and said, “Bring a bag with room; you are going to have to bring some of these CDs back home.”  And not to be too down, my buddy Ross and a friend of his also came to the show so obviously I am being modest about my ability to draw audiences nationwide. We sat in Shake Shack in between shows and talked about deceased relatives, just to keep it light.  Here is a fun clip from the show:

Food Court Friday

The girlfriend arrived Friday and we promptly went looking for food.  Fridays during Lent mean no meat for Catholics so she got some free-trade, goat cheese-quinoa-avocado wrap that was smuggled out of Brooklyn and I got two slices of pizza.  I actually walked from my hotel to Union Station to get her and then we walked all over DC. By the count of my new invention FatBit (which keeps track of all your steps and the fact that you are still horrible out of shape) I had done at least 25,000 steps before getting back to the hotel to prep for the evenings shows.

Before the evening entertainment we tried to go to the African-American History Museum (see my instagram – @jlcomedy – for Trump’s opinions on it) and there was a huge line. I ended up talking Utah Jazz basketball with the guy standing behind me, which is actually the least African-American way to have an NBA discussion. We then got about 30 people from the front when they said no more tickets were available #Blessed. We then went to an art museum where some Japanese lady who looks like a Pixar character had a big exhibition. We also failed to get limited tickets for that so we looked at other stuff, including a sculpture of a bald, fat girthy-cocked dude (the pic omits the girthy phallus for any young readers of bitter, anonymous comedian blogs #TargetMarket):

I left this couple (unknown to them) in the pic for scale

My girlfriend was meeting her high school friend and her husband at the show (THAT’S 6 FANS ALREADY FROM THE FEATURE ACT – #DRAW) and I had a very strong set. The audience was not full so I set my camera up in the back to capture the action. Unfortunately some folks sat near my camera (for no discernible reason) and bumped my camera so I learned quickly after the set that I had a great 18 minutes of the bathroom door killing.

As I steamed after the first show, and sold nothing, I considered quitting that very moment.  However, I did something smarter. I decided to counter the JL Comedy Jinx with some self-hate.  I decided not to tape my second set.  And of course I crushed. So while I don’t have that set on tape, I did sell 12 CDs after the show (including 3 to ANOTHER member of The Black Guy Who Tips fanbase – 7 FANS MOTHERFU*KERS!). I then crawled into bed next to my girlfriend, who was in a wine-induced coma, at 1 am. #SpoonSaturdays

Sight-Seeing Saturday

On Saturday we woke up and made our way to her friend’s house in East Falls Church for some brunch (“When in White Women Rome…”), though before that I had the pleasure of running into NYC comedian Anthony DeVito on the street. We had a nice chat and I wished him luck on his Comedy Central taping (for blog readers, you may remember Anthony from my intimate Winery Show/Bed and Breakfast in early 2016). After brunch the gf and I went for a long walk around DC and went to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the World War II Memorial, which I think is the best thing in all of DC (thank you for your (lobbying) service Tom Hanks.  Both are beautiful.  The weather was beautiful, but then it was time to bring the lady back to Union Station (you either get 3 days in a Hampton Inn, or 2 in a Westin on the Broke Comedian Getaway Vacation Package). We ate Pizzeria Uno, which obviously put me on a 24-esque timetable to get back to my Westin bathroom and I put her on the train back to NYC. Before getting to the shows that night here are some photos (more on my Instagram):


Two towers of DC culture and history
WWII memorial is an incredible sight – full view of Washington Monument on one side, Lincoln Memorial on the other and a beautiful design and tribute
GF captured a perfect angle of the MLK memorial
Let’s just hope the Marvel/Disney people get the rights to the MLK comic instead of DC Comics

That night I arrived at the DC Improv for three shows and was greeted by friend, former podcast guest and DMV comedy legend Rob Maher.  We chatted and then I went on stage and did the Lord’s work.  I then went into the DC Improv Lounge to follow another DMV legend and friend, Randolph Terrance and crushed even harder than in the main room (I feel like my new bit on the “Fluidity of Sexuality” would please most comedians and members of the Nixon White House). I then had my best post show sales of the week (I opted not to give CDs to the gf to bring back – either I would sell them (good) or be furious that I was dragging them back to NYC (justifying my rage at comedy) to the point that I had to run back to the Westin to get the remaining copies for the late show.  All joking aside, I do wish I had gotten a job in DC over NYC after law school because the DC comedy scene has always been my favorite.

I had a very good second set and sold a few copies more. Then I received news that Louis CK had started his SNL monologue with a “Why Did the Chicken Cross The Road” joke.  So as I kill some more time on this beautiful DC Sunday, enjoy my video from 2013 that proves that I am way ahead of Louis CK. #JLouisC


Weekend Comedy Recap: Comedy, Highway Danger and When Yentas…

This past weekend (Thursday-Sunday) I was at the DC Improv, one of my favorite two clubs in the country (Helium in Philly being the other). Third place is reserved for whoever books me the week I am asked to rank comedy clubs.  I think it might have been my 8th career week working the Improv, but one of the great things about a “career” in stand up comedy is that no matter how familiar or routine it can begin to feel. there is always a chance to be surprises for better and for worse.  I was opening for Clayton English, 2015’s winner of Last Comic Standing, so it was clear the shows were all going to be packed. But as usual with these write ups, let’s start from the beginning

Mission Impossible: Find an affordable hotel in a reputable chain near a Metro Stop during high tourism season in DC

The last few times I have performed in the DC area I think it has been the Summer, which means Congress out of session, swamp ass in full swing and lower rates on hotels.  So I had some sticker shock looking up hotels, realizing that the area hotels coming up in my price range were homeless shelters and 24 Hour McDonald’s bathrooms.  Thankfully, due to the new Silver line on the Metro I was able to secure a nice room at a Residence Inn by Marriot in Tysons Corner, VA. It was 10 stops from the club and only involved 15 minutes of side-of-highway/no sidewalk walking to and from the Metro (please check my instagram at jlcomedy to see a midnight video montage of my walk that my mother called “scary”).  The room was very nice, there were free cookies in the afternoon, a solid breakfast including a waffle iron (the three great equalizers in human history are a) the printing press b) the Internet and c) waffle irons at discount hotel chains) and a Subway nearby for me to eat fresh.  The only problem I had with the hotel was that their front entrance was a magnet for those humungous, fat bees that don’t sting you, but are still scary as hell.  One bumped into my forehead and I think with both have CTE now.

Can’t Sell Merch If People Store Their Coats On Top of It

The shows were all strong for the week, but my merch sales suffered a bit. One reason is that people kept throwing their coats directly on top of my CDs like it was an upstairs bedroom of a house party when going to get pictures with the headliner.  This was almost as embarrassing as the audience member who looked at me and said “sorry, but can you take a picture of us (her and the headliner). Fortunately Clayton is a good dude or just saw horror in my eyes and immediately asked some random person to take the photo.  The jackets on my merch offense (“IN MY CULTURE IT IS A BIG INSULT TO THROW YOUR COAT ON TOP OF A MAN’S LIFE WORK!”)  happened a total of three times (one coat by a young man whose mother then reprimanded him and he immediately picked the coat up, once by an absentminded woman and I was able to snap a pic of it and then the third was technically a purse, but you get the idea), after happening zero times in the previous 12 years and 10 months of me performing stand up. #Blessed

The Joke That Wouldn’t Quite Work and the Group of Yentas Who wouldn’t Shut Up

I did largely tried and true material throughout the weekend, but my bit about why it is a good thing 9/11 didn’t happen in 2016 (the people yelling World Star while filming the towers falling, the people taking selfies and recording it instead of helping or getting help and the 4.9 million blog posts the next day about how it effected ME) fell flat for 3 of the 5 shows (and I did not bother doing it for the Sunday crowd, which was very tight before I even thought about going there).  However, it became the joke that the most people would specifically reference to me after shows to say “I thought it was great.”  But the offense never lasted because I have really fully developed my “If Trump and Bernie were comedians” bit and it really crushes any awkwardness, especially in apolitically minded town like DC.  In other words I used the impressions as such a crutch that they almost didn’t seem like the usual crutch of hacky impersonators. Or I have become what I despise.

But in a week of mostly highlights and oncoming traffic lights (remember by walks at midnight on the side of highways in Tysons Corner?) the lowlight was a no-brainer.  It was after the early Friday show and a group of four Jewish women approached me with the shortest being the most vocal, of course. Here is a summary with some quotes of the 4 minutes I stood with Skanks and the City:

Short Blonde: Are you really half black?

Me: Yes

SB: Really?

Me: Yeah.

SB: Because my friends and I thought you looked like Adam Sandler and Jerry Seinfeld.

Me: Uh Huh.

(Awkward pause)

SB: And they’re both Jewish. So we thought you were Jewish. And we’re all Jewish.

Me: OK.

Skank and the City Member 2: Are you really half black?

Me: Yeah

#2: Really?

Me: Yeah

#2: I want to see a picture


At this point there was actually a small line of people wanting to take pictures (and maybe buy CDs) from me, so you know they were taking a LONG time if there was a line forming for me. After a few more racial inquiries, they had one of their boyfriends, take a picture. he grabs a phone and says: Are you really half black?

Me: Yeah.

After the first picture he says: OK (to all of us in the picture) Do something goofy!

Me (internally): what is this a wedding photo?

I then glare at the woman next to me for the photo, which got a big laugh from everyone (as intended) except the woman (#2)

#2: Why are you so awkward?

Me: have a nice night everyone (before I join ISIS)

Sunday: No Groupie Night (Girlfriend’s Friends Coming to the Show)

On Sunday I saw a movie with my buddy Ross (Midnight Special – like E.T. without fun or aliens – started promising, overally disappointing) and then went to Mass at St Matthew’s near the Improv (Pope Francis went there when he was in town so I guess I was the 2nd high profile Catholic there this year). Then it was time for the final show of the week, which was special because two of my girlfriend’s friends were coming to watch.  So first I had to update my ho-fan page that Sunday night’s show was off limits and then not have a terrible set.  Mission accomplished!  The friends then gave me a ride to Union Station to catch the final train out of DC that night.  A perfect end to a mostly great week in DC: it started with me on the side of a highway walking and ended with a door to door ride from the club to Amtrak.

And then I got home and my dog peed with excitement on the floor. Like comedy, my dog knows how to deliver just enough bad with something good to make me constantly question my life choices.

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!


Weekend Comedy Recap: DC Wedding

This weekend was one of those rare weekends (62% of all my weekends) when I was not booked to tell jokes for minimal profit.  So I did the next best thing – I brought my comedy skills to a wedding in DC for free (food provided, no room – like most gigs now)!  My friend Ross was getting married to his lady of almost ten years, Anne.  Interesting story – I met Ross in my first and only Improv class (the thinking was I am new to stand up so let me bolster my overall comedy game, includign the comedic arts that people find annoying) in DC when I was just a few months into starting as a stand up comedian. He has been one of my most loyal and valuable supporters/critics of my comedy (for those of you that like my podcast he was like Josh Homer 1.0).  When I left DC in 2004 to be a Bronx ADA, Ross met Anne shortly thereafter, proving that there is no good luck as good as J-L relocating to another part of the country from you #blessed.

I arrived in DC and got a sweet deal at The Melrose Hotel, which was right across the street from McFadden’s where I would occasioanlly drink when I was just a DC law student with loads of potential.  The Melrose was super nice, to the point that I think made a mistake with the price they gave me.  My room was spacious and beautiful and came with a section of the US Constitution on the wall, as I usually request when on the road.

Other than accurately stating the Constitution this was a perfect room for a Tea Partier.

I went for a nice stroll through Georgetown to the Ritz Carlton Georgetown where the wedding was.  It was a nice fairly small ceremony and the Maid of Honor was Bridgette, a cute female bull terrier, who rumor had it was a real whore with a couple of the groomsmen later that night.  I thought it was cute, given the small ceremony, for Bridgette to be involved, but can you imagine being the bridesmaids and losing out to a 112 year old Bull Terrier?

Then it was time for me to shine. The miscellanous wedding table.  I was sitting with four couples and one married dude whose wife was back home.  Definitely one of the most fun wedding tables I can remember in my wedding career.  Instead of feeling like Lebron on the Cavs, I felt more like Chauncey Billups on the 2004 Pistons – a real solid team effort from everyone at the table.  Added bonus was sitting next to a celiac (the gluten diseased people) which meant double dinner rolls and double cake (cut me some slack I dropped 40 lbs since March) for me. I even asked for permission by the time I took her third roll.

Due to my extra working out, my lack of partying conditioning this Summer and my insomnia over the last month I left around 1015 and went back to the Melrose. I fell asleep and was having a nice time until my hotel alarm went off at 3 am.  And then again at 530 am.  Here is something I think all hotels should do (this has happened to me 4 times in my life) – the maid should have to reset or turn off all alarms as part of her (or HIS #equality) duties.  As revenge I jerked off into the shampoo bottle and then cleaned it off like it had never been used.  It is a thing I like to call “Shitting it Forward.”    But seriously, there is nothing more annoying then having exactly one night a week to sleep well, having swank and cozy conditions to get eight hours and then, with 6 gin and tonics and a belly full of gluten, getting jolted awake at 3 am.

But overall, a great little trip back to my old stomping grounds. Here is a throwback photo of Ross and I (and comedian Danny Rouhier on the left) in 2003 or 2004 when I started.

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!