Comedian J-L Cauvin performs

Cameron Carrus

Last Thursday, Oct. 25, the Café was transformed into a comedy club.  The tables donned white tablecloths.  Only the dancing flames of the table candles and the stage lights lit the room.  The mood was set, and students were ready for some laughs.

SOUP, the Student Organization for University Programming, sponsored New York comedians John Potilla and J-L Cauvin to perform. The Café setting was the perfect atmosphere for their self-deprecating humor, as both comedians commented on how the loud espresso machine was stealing the show, or how they were getting heckled by the panini machine.

Potilla, a short and slightly balding Italian gentleman, opened the show.  The 29-year-old New York native focused on topics including his Italian heritage, life in the big city and just recently moving out of his parents’ house.  He depicted himself as that creepy guy at the nightclub, which got some laughs.  Other jokes, like riffing on the “best thing since sliced bread” saying, bombed-which he took full responsibility for.

Cauvin then took the stage.  The half-Haitian, half-Irish giant used his mixed race to his advantage, cracking many jokes about Africans.  He explained how he didn’t have enough money to sponsor a poor African child for 7 cents after just having spent 10 dollars helping a depressed kitten.  From there, he explained that it would probably be wise to invest in 10,000 African kids for 7 cents each, banking on the odds that two of them may be the next Dikembe Mutombo.  The diverse crowd in the cafe was overall accepting and appreciative of these jokes.

Jokes about pornography were also effective.  Cauvin used his age difference to rouse the crowd, explaining that before computers, you needed to buy dirty magazines.  He comedically reenacted his first encounter, buying a dirty magazine from a newsstand. 

Cauvin could relate to the Lawrence crowd with ease, as he attended Williams College, another Division-3, small liberal arts college.  After Williams, he went to Georgetown for law, and became a prosecutor in the Bronx.  He told some humorous stories about how his romanticized view of prostitutes from movies like “Pretty Woman” got turned on their head.  He also said that if he were to ever go back to a law firm, it would be as a janitor, where he would proceed to play Matt Damon’s role in “Good Will Hunting,” but in a law context.

With a spot-on Obama impression, Cauvin ended his nearly hour-long set.  Though both comedians commented on the strangeness of the Café setting, despite the “elegant” setup, it seemed as if both performers were happy they made the trip out here and appeared appreciative of the small but attentive audience.