What do they say about New York City: There are eight million stories, and sometimes it seems as though eight million of the people telling them think they’re comedians? No, that’s not it. It is a fact, though, that America’s biggest city is also its biggest comedy mecca. Hollywood may be Hollywood, but New York City is where comedians are born funny, become funny or arrive to thrust their funny upon us. I think we should meet some of these people. This is a recurring feature, a mini-profile of newcomers, up-and-comers and overcomers of New York’s vibrant comedy scene. It’s called Meet Me In New York.
You’ve probably heard and/or seen J-L Cauvin perform comedy, even if you didn’t know it at the time. Cauvin has made his biggest waves so far in the comedy scene either by lampooning the comedy business and stand-up comedians themselves. His biggest YouTube hit so far was a 2013 video in which he impersonated Louis CK in a fake ad for CK telling classic jokes. He followed that up with a series of videos mocking comedy classes in which he impersonated George Lopez and Gary Gulman, too. Cauvin also performs onstage as himself most often. But in the past year, he has seen plenty of success being able to impersonate Donald Trump.
Cauvin has been a frequent guest on The Adam Carolla Show, and just released a full comedy album this week playing Trump, “Fireside Craps: 45’s First 100 Daze.”
Name: J-L Cauvin
Arrival date: 1979
Arrived from: Native New Yorker
When and where did you start performing comedy?
“I was in law school in Washington DC and at the end of my second year, looking for something to do besides study and be stressed, I went up at an open mic at Takoma Station Tavern, a jazz club that had a comedy open mic night on Mondays.”
What was your first credit?
“The Late Late Show in 2007 (I leave out “with Craig Ferguson” so people might assume it is the current James Corden edition AKA less stale).”
How did growing up in NYC shape your desire to be in show business?
“It didn’t. I wanted to play in the NBA growing up. When I landed as a bench player in Division 3 I decided I wanted to be a lawyer. When I was struggling in law school I decided I wanted to be a comedian. I guess now that I am a struggling comedian I want to be a porn fluffer (NOT THAT THERE IS ANYTHING WRONG WITH EMPOWERING SEX POSITIVE SEX WORK)”
Did growing up in NYC make it any easier to launch your comedy career here?
“No. It just made it more awkward when all of my friends from high school stopped coming to my shows, even after I started to obtain small amounts of success. Though with all the bringer shows I did early on I think I helped launch some private school education for comedy club owners’ children.”
Have you ever considered moving to L.A. or elsewhere to further your career?
“When I got laid off from my law firm in 2009 and decided that I wanted to try comedy full-time my brother told me that I should move to LA. He said that in NYC I would be surrounded by family, friends and an environment that I was comfortable in. He believed that moving to LA would force me to prioritize what obviously would be (and has been) a risky career choice and give myself the best chance at success. I did not take his advice and last year after having some success on different platforms a buddy of mine in LA also told me I should move to LA, telling me that it would play to my skill set better than NYC. However, I still have no plans to do so. But have I considered it? Probably about twice a week for the last 8 years.”
What tip would you give to any comedian who moves here?
“Realize that comedy is not a solitary sport. Comedy is not tennis or the 100m sprint. It is more like cycling or race car driving in that to obtain individual success and glory you still need teamwork and a lot of white people.”
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
“You mean after I fail as a porn fluffer? Most likely working as a lawyer or a teacher in the Midwest. Just as long as I am not the subject or suspect of a Netflix true-crime documentary I will consider myself lucky.”
You can find J-L Cauvin performing at clubs around New York City, as well as road gigs in a town near you. His new comedy album, “Fireside Craps: 45’s First 100 Daze,” is out now.
Which NYC comedian would you like to see me style and profile next for Meet Me In New York? Send your nominations to: thecomicscomic AT gmail DOT com