Blog

Righteous Prick 2014 Heroes Nominees (half way point)

With 2014 halfway over (apparently time flies whether you are having fun or merely trekking the wasteland of comedy drudgery) and a few weeks on the road about to offer me numerous opportunities to share comedy stories I thought today would be a good day to offer some early possibilities for 2014 Righteous Prick Heroes (like CNN Heroes except unlike doing good works of charity or humanitarianism, these people have just entertained me).  So here are your first batch, and it is a diverse batch with two Latinos, two Asians and someone who will give me diabetes:

1) Luis Suarez – the Uruguayan star player who sabotaged his own team’s chances (and his own legacy) at the World Cup by biting another player (his third career biting infraction I believe).  If there is one thing this blogger/podcaster/comedian believes in it is sabotaging one’s own talent through questionable decisions.

2) Mendez – Watching season 2 of Orange is the New Black on Netflix this weekend I was struck by how much more nudity, fingering and all around sexual horse play there was on this season.  It was giving me a True Blood-ish feeling, meaning I enjoyed the first season of True Blood. A lot.  Then I think marketing people got their hand on some stats and realized, hey – our fan base has a lot of women and gays so lets start upping the beefcake factor, the gratuitous sex and the campiness because we really want to solidify our base.  It is like the Tea Party – instead of sticking to your original principles you pander to a loud and critical base, which then makes the political process, or in this analogy, the show, suffer.  Well I was getting that feeling until Mendez showed back up.  The abusive, mustachioed prison guard only appeared in three episodes, but it was the highlight of the show for me and brought me back from the brink. Let’s hope (no spoilers) that he can make it back to play a big role in season three or else I may have to tap out.

3) Masuhiro Tanaka – In this season of Derek Jeter (the icy cool, bland, gives baseball memorabilia to hook ups, has his boys approach women for him at clubs, was obsessed with mariah Carey as a teen which would have made their dating really weird if he was not a famous baseball player Yankee – you know a real hero) I am glad that it is another Yankee that is stealing his spotlight.  Tanaka has been an absolute beast on the mound for the Yankees, even when he loses and I like that he arrived in NY on a 777, the rental of which cost $200,000 with his wife, dog and only a couple of advisers in a gesture whose hubris lands somewhere between the 2010 Miami Heat pep rally and Donald Trump architecture.  I love it.

Derek Who?

4) Godzilla – Giant monster that literally burns bridges and creates hostile division among movie fans.  How could I not have him as a hero nominee?

5) The guy who brought girl scout cookies to crumbs – My favorite cookie is probably the Samoa.  One of the foods most responsible for my weight gain over the last 5 years the Crumbs cupcake.  Well in a move that rivals the pairing up of DeNiro and Pacino in Heat, they are now selling Crumbs Girl Scout cookies.  They come in at a cool 950 calories each, so as expected I only eat two per sitting.

The death of me. Possibly literally.

6) George RR Martin – There were hard feelings after “The Mountain and the Viper” episode of Game of Thrones, as exhibited by this video I made, but after deeper reflection I have to offer the highest level of respect to a man willing to continuously anger and destroy fans on a season-by-season basis.  Not since Drago yelled to the Russian crowd “I DO THIS FOR ME. FOR ME!” has a hero turned on his own fans so harshly.

7) The Guy Who Does The Sound Effects for Tyrant on FX – I do not know if Tyrant is going to be the next great show on television, but it is clear that FX is preparing to challenge AMC for the #2 cable quality spot behind HBO.  They just had Fargo, which for my money was far superior to True Detective and possibly the best show this year, they have The Americans and they are also premiering a 10pm Sunday show in July called The Strain, from Guillermo del Toro, which signals to me that with Mad Men ending soon, The Walking Dead ending soon (I think they said 5 seasons, but maybe they dont want to end that cash cow) and Breaking Bad already done FX is ready to move into the Sunday prime time level.  With all that preamble, the pilot of Tryant was fantastic.  And the singular moment for me was when the lead character slaps the sh*t out of his son.  Whoever did the sound effects for the double slap deserves an Emmy because it sounded like a thunderclap in a storm. Ridiculous? Yes.  Excellent? Double yes.

8 ) The People Who Made Fargo on FX – As I already mentioned – the 10 episodes of this show can only be rivaled (within the qualifying Emmy period) by Season 4 of Game of Thrones.  Better than the final 8 of Breaking Bad. Better than True Detective.

9) Lebron James – Just like he is always a top MVP candidate, he is always a top nominee for an RPH of the year.  By opting out of his contract (and the rest of the Miami Heat following suit) he has opened the door for the Heat to add more firepower in needed areas (like point guard, interior defense and the assassination of Dwyane Wade).  What I hope more than anything, including success in my own career, is that if they sign someone of quality (sorry World Cup has me calling things quality), BESIDES Carmelo Anthony, that they all come out in another pep rally and it simply says “Fu*k Y’all” in big bright letters behind them. They are going to hate anyway – might

10) J-L Cauvin – duh.

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!

Blog

Weekend Comedy Recap: Chappelle, Danbury and Twitter Credit

This weekend presented a diverse array of comedy exposure.  I featured at a country and western bar in Danbury, Connecticut on Saturday night, but the undercard for the weekend was going to see Dave Chappelle at Radio City Music Hall on Thursday.  I have not been to Radio City Music Hall since I was a child and I forgot how big and beautiful that place is.  It really looked too big for a good comedy show.  But being a huge star that the crowd has been missing for a decade has a way of taming an intimidating room.  The DJ started the show with a tremendous slate of hacky jokes, but he’s not a comedian and the crowd enjoyed them so as usual… I’m the asshole.  The show started late, which led to numerous people standing in front of us (what happened to places like Broadway and Radio City? It used to be if you were late enough you didn’t get to sit and especially a comedy show with an intermission there is no reason to allow late people to disturb the experience of people who paid substantial money for tickets (they were a gift to me for my birthday but I am never above acting indignant).

So the show started with an immediate J-L Cauvin connection.  Tony Woods, a well known DC comic, was the opener.  The difference between DC comedy and NYC comedy is at some point NYC comedians decide they are above open mics and some bar shows, whereas in DC Tony Woods, who was already an established headliner, showed up all the time to any decent bar show or shitty open mic to work on his stuff.  And he always killed.  And I remember the first time I saw Dave Chappelle and Greer Barnes at the DC Improv, after seeing Tony Woods enough times, and it didn’t seem hard to guess who one of their inspirations was.  Whether that is true or not I do not know, but when you see two younger comics with a similar style to an older, funny comic your brain cannot help but make connections.

Woods did very well and then after an intermission Donnell Rawlings had a set that had me laughing at a few moments harder than anything I would see that night (this is only meant as a compliment, not as an insult to any other performers).  Then it was Chappelle time.  I enjoyed his set and I also enjoyed the fact that he was wearing a suit and  not a sleeveless shirt.  One of the few areas where black people are given a pass that white people are not is fashion (#blackprivilege?).  This is why Dwyane Wade and Russell Westbrook feel so comfortable walking around like morons after games wearing clothes that the Emperor would not be caught in.  And this is also why when Chappelle wears sleeveless shirts on stage to show off his new muscles people marvel at his guns.  White comic with muscles does it today I guarantee other comedians are chanting douche-bag at him (the way we all did at Dane Cook – unless we were the chick he was banging that night – and he didn’t even have muscles to show off).

Cool or Douche?

The set was fun, fairly light and enjoyable.  I was more impressed with the ability to control a room that large with standard stand-up.  Obviously his fame and devoted fans buy a longer attention span, but he also delivered.  If I had to grade it I would say it was a B+/A-, but I am sure that is “hating” to most people.  Oh well.  It was a relief to me though, because he washed away the memory of when I saw him in DC a decade ago, for top club dollar, and he delivered what amounted to “Hey man, I’m Dave Chappelle and I’m famous, rich and just me talking about anything is worth the price of admission.”    I left with a much better impression on Thursday.

But this was all prelude to my soon-to-be legendary performance at Coyote Maverick Bar in Danbury, CT on Saturday night.  I was featuring, but still brought 10 CDs because you never really know if you are going to sell zero or all of your CDs on gigs like this.  When I arrived at the location about 20 minutes before showtime I saw that the room was pretty small (roughly 100 capacity).  That is a good thing, unless you consider that 20 minutes before showtime and there are still approximately 98 seats left to fill.  I was informed from the smiling manager that the advertisement for the show (which was jam packed the week before) was placed in the wrong paper in a different city.  So now I had to deal with the fact that people in Bridgeport, CT were intentionally ignoring my show, instead of the good people of Danbury intentionally ignoring my show.  Now they just had to indifferently miss my show.

When the show started the crowd was about 25 strong.  I worked my ass off and felt good about my set, but pretty bad about my life.  They were a solid crowd (though with the average age being Crypt Keeper I had to dump a bit of my 40 and under material) and I did some of my best crowd work ever so at least that skill set got some exercise.  However, the biggest laugh of my set came with “I am selling CDs after the show…. oh who the fu*k am I kidding…”  But the gig was fun, the bar is cool and the check cleared despite having my last name spelled incorrectly.    So great job Dave Chappelle opening for me for the weekend. You really set the comedy table nicely.

But like any weekend of comedy it ended on a down note because after the world cup USA game yesterday, which was great and with an objectively incredible ending, I tweeted “That was some George RR Martin shit!  #WorldCup””  It got 5 retweets and 7 favorites from my 1700 followers.  20 minutes later I saw a retweet, from someone I follow, of a tweet by some tech geek with 11K followers who tweeted 1 minute after me (he doesn’t follow me so I doubt he saw mine) that said “George RR Martin wrote that game” and it had over 3200 retweets.  And I shut off twitter and felt a renewed sense of hate for all things comedic.  Sorry Chappelle and Danbury, but hate is stronger than any joy you can provide, but thanks for trying. #Blessed

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!

Blog

Jordan is still better than Kobe, but what is…

Before I start what I wanted to be the subject of this post I have received some e-mails of a most disturbing nature.  Some fringe element out there (I group this element just below radical islamists, white supremacist militia groups) is claiming that Kobe Bryant is the better player than Michael Jordan.  Here very quickly (or not so quickly) is why he is not:

Kobe Bryant

2009 Finals MVP – 30 pts per game, 43% shooting, 7.4 assists, 5 rebounds per game, great numbers, slightly less impressive than Dwayne Wade’s stats in 2006 when he played with Shaq at his low point in his career

3 Titles early in his career when he was playing with Shaq at his peak.  Kobe was Scottie Pippen-esque at this point in his career – already a great player, but not capable of winning any of those titles if not paired with the game’s most dominant big man at his peak.  Shaq on the other hand could have one those 3 titles with any of the top 30 players in the league as the Robin to his Batman.

My parents conversation about Kobe:

My Dad: That Kobe is amazing

My Mom: I don’t like him.

Michael Jordan

1991 Finals – 55% from the field, 31.2 pts per game, 11.4 assists, 6.6 rebounds per game

1992 Finals – 52.8% from the field, 35.8 pts per game, 6.5 assists per game

1993 Finals – 50.8% from the field, 41.0 pts per game, 8.5 rebounds per game, 6.3 assists per game

And then we won 3 more titles after retiring for two and a half years in his prime. 

If he had played with a Shaq caliber player during his most explosive time (mid 1980s) and had not retired he would have 8-12 titles. 

He scored 50 pts at the age of 39 and is the only 40 year old to ever score 40+ points in an NBA game (after his second retirement).

My parents conversation about MJ:

My Dad: Wow Michael Shordan (that is how pops pronounces it) is amazing!

My Mom: Shut the fu-k up!

Frustrating Hall of Famers and The Cauvin Family from 1984-1998
Frustrating Hall of Famers and The Cauvin Family from 1984-1998

I think the evidence is clear that based on stats, facts, our collective gut instinct and my Mom’s visceral reaction to the Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley and Karl Malone killer that he is the superior player and actually appears likable compared to Kobe.  There is only one player on the horizon who may supplant MJ and that is LeBron James, simply because LeBron’s physicality is the the first to transcend NBA generational evolution since… Michael Jordan.

But I will give Kobe and the Lakers credit – they gave me something to watch.  Like Armand Assante said in the terrible HBO film Gotti, “They’ll miss John Gotti when I’m gone.”  That is how I feel about Kobe right now – I watched him hoping he’d lose, sort of like my own reality show, that was actual real, instead of manufactured for the consumption of dumb people.  I even caught some of the Stanley Cup Finals Game 7, which is right up there with Big Foot with regard to the frequency with which I have seen it. 

Was he known as the Kobe Bryant of The Underworld? ("Sure he's ruthless, but he's no Michael Corleone!")
Was he known as the Kobe Bryant of The Underworld? ("Sure he's ruthless, but he's no Michael Corleone!")

 But now we are in the Summer of 2009 – no Olympics, no World Cup, no more basketball, a month until Wimbledon, no more hockey.  So what are we left with – America’s corporate pastime, baseball, Major League Soccer and the WNBA.  I am even afraid to watch one of my favorite shows, Pardon The Interruption, because I feel like sports have nothing right now.   So if you have any sports ideas for the Summer let me know.  Although my entire Summer of road gigs will probably revolve around doing comedy in minor league baseball team towns so maybe I can learn to appreciate the feature acts of sports as I feature at clubs.