Monday, 24 September 2012

The Business September 26th 2012, The "The Business is Back in Business" Edition

The Business has been Chris-less for some time now. NOT THIS WEEK! We’ve got not just one, but TWO! Both Garcia and Thayer have been in the land of dreams (and in LA) but they’re back and better than ever and they’re gonna be at the Business this week! Also, Alex has returned from being a road warrior Max Rockatansky-style and will be back in his business saddle again. That means all the regulars are assembling, forming a Voltron-esqe defender of the humorverse!

Chris, Chris, Sean, Alex, Bucky, Caitlin and Mike have made room for only one guest this week. Luckily, he’s a doozy.

“Jarrod Harris‘ act is an oddly comfortable mix of trailer-park filth, comic angst and hipster irony. While his style may fit into several categories along the comedy spectrum, his clever writing only fits into one: funny.” Noah Gardenswartz – Creative Loafing.

Over 20 million people have seen Jarrod’s popular Action Figure Therapy characters and most recently the series was named LA Weekly’s “Top Comic To Watch in 2012″. His character Jungle was also featured on the front page of the Huffington Post Comedy section in 2011. Jarrod has also been seen on TBS’ Lopez Tonight and Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham. Campus Activities Magazine named him as one of the Hot Comics of 2009 and Top Comics to Watch in 2010. In 2009 Jarrod was final 4 at the San Francisco Comedy Competition and in 2010 was invited back for Detroit Comedy Festival’s “Best of Fest” as well as host of 2010/2011 Laughing Skull Festival. Jarrod spends his time in LA and is a regular performer at independent shows as well as the Improvs, Comedy Store, Laugh Factory, and in 2010 had the pleasure of hosting a Comedy Death Ray show.

It is a pleasure to welcome him back to The Business.

Come join us! We SELL OUT, so get there before 8 and nab a seat. BYOBurrito. (Bring 8 more to share with us.)

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The Business September 19th 2012, The "Lil Rascals in the City" Edition

This week at The Business, Our Gang is welcoming a few Lil Rascals to San Francisco.

Cameron Buchholtz is a stand up comedian based in Austin, TX. He is a regular at comedy clubs across the country, has done theater shows with the likes of Doug Benson and Todd Barry, rock clubs with Michael Ian Black and Neil Hamburger, and festivals such as FunFunFunFest and the Norman Music Festival. He is also the host of the laid back interview podcast 'CB Radio', where every week he sits down with some of the biggest
names in comedy and pop culture. He is proudly from Oklahoma. He is SO totally an Alfalfa.

Dave Child started his career as a senior officer of Emerson College's acclaimed sketch troupe: Chocolate Cake City. Dave co-wrote the screenplay: Will Triumph Fights Alone, which won the Film Artist Network’s Boston Screenplay Competition, was represented at The Cannes Film Festival and was later adapted into a comic book, illustrated by Death of Superman artist: Jon Bogdanove. Since then, Will Triumph has been optioned to ABC Family Channel as a one-hour drama. Dave came to Los Angeles to make comedy videos and web series for Warner Brothers Studios. He currently performs stand up all the country for the nation’s top clubs (The Comedy Store, The Comedy Studio, The Improv, etc.) and most popular alternative comedy shows: HOLY FUCK! (“One of the best alternative comedy shows in Los Angeles.”- LA Weekly), One-Two-Punch (a featured show in the LA Times), and What's Up Tiger Lily? (The Onion's "Comedy Pick"). He’s SUCH a Spanky.

Jono Zalay grew up in beautiful San Diego, where upon becoming a stand-up comic, he quickly grew tired of good weather and happy times. So he packed all his belongings and boarded a plane to Boston. His belongings boarded a plane to Philadelphia and were never seen again. In 2010-11, he became a staple at comedy festivals around the country, winning all of them in the “most fun” category that he made up. His unique and informed background brings a perspective to stand-up comedy unequaled by almost any PhD in Neuroscience. What a total Waldo!

Join our guests and the regulars, Caitlin Gill (total Darla), Bucky Sinsiter (BUTCH), Mike Drucker (like, completely Woim) and Sean Keane (man, wish the only two left weren’t Porky and Buckwheat… Can I just say Sean possesses Buckwheat’s impeccable comedic timing and Porky’s irrisitable charm? I DIDN’T JUST SAY SOMETHING RACIST OR CALL SEAN FAT, DID I?!?)

This whole darn show is just $5 measly dollars.  Remember! We sell out! Get there by 8 if you want a seat.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The Business September 12th 2012, The "TV’S Erin Judge Judy and Foxmeat News" Edition

New Business Logo courtesy of Dr. Foxmeat
Last week’s Members Only show was great fun, but it’s time we got some guests back in the Business. This week we have two of our favorites with their funnies.

Dr. Foxmeat began his comedy career with a soaring howl under a full moon. He has the sharp jokes of a seasoned comedian, and a furry beard that looks like it may contain fallen seasonings. He looks like he knows the value of a set of human teeth on an unsettled prairie, but also looks like he could roll you a doobie without using his thumbs. He has wandered down to SF from the wilds of Humboldt County for your entertainment. He is a doctor, he is a fox, he is meat.

Erin Judge began her career at the Comedy Studio in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and now she lives in New York and performs all over the world. Erin's first stand-up album, So Many Choices, was released by Rooftop Comedy in 2012. She travels with the Pink Collar Comedy Tour and co-produces The Afterlife, a weekly comedy showcase in New York City. Erin has appeared on Comedy Central, in Time Out New York as Joke of the Week, and in the pages of the New York Times.

(Any resemblance to Fox News or Judge Judy is purely coincidental.)

This is a $5 show. (JUST $5!!!) BYOBurrito, and remember, WE SELL OUT. Get there by 8 if you want a seat. No one turned away without a high five.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Dutrow, NYRA and the Law

Back in November, 2010, investigators for the New York State Racing and Wagering Board found three syringes, loaded with the sedative/analgesic xylazine, in trainer Dick Dutrow desk at Dutrow's Aqueduct barn. The same month, one of Dutrow's horses, Fastus Cactus, tested positive for butorphanol, an opioid pain reliever often used together with xylazine. By that time, Dutrow had accumulated a variety of violations in at least nine states and at least 15 race tracks.

In the fullness of time (i.e., by October, 2011), the NYSRWB suspended Dutrow's training license for 10 years, but the suspension was stayed pending his appeal to the courts. On July 19, 2012, the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court unanimously rejected the appeal, but still Dutrow continues to train from his Aqueduct base while his lawyers pursue an all-but-certain defeat in the Court of Appeals, the state's highest court. Kentucky, meanwhile, rejected Dutrow's application for a trainer's license there in April of 2011, but unlike license suspensions, mere refusals to license are not honored by other states.

In the press and to the public, Dutrow is the bad boy of Thoroughbred racing, the guy who just can't bring himself to play by the rules. And the seemingly interminable legal process just adds to the frustration of those, including most owners and trainers, who desperately want to clean up racing's image. As we approach the second anniversary of Dutrow's dual violations, he continues near the top of the trainer standings, meet after meet.

So what could have been done? NYRA could, and should have denied Dutrow stalls, at a minimum, and possibly barred him from entering horses. That could have been done promptly, with adequate due-process protection for Dutrow, but without the years-long delay that the NYSRWB proceeding has involved. Here's how and why, but for the ineffectiveness (at best) of NYRA's legal department, it should have happened.

[Note: much of the legal background to what follows is contained in Bennett Liebman's invaluable article, "The Supreme Court and Exclusions by Racetracks," published in the Villanova Sports and Entertainment Law Journal in 2010. I've been unable to find a freely available copy online, but lawyers can access it through WestLaw and Lexis.]

As is generally known, race tracks have historically enjoyed a broad right to exclude persons from the track, as long as the grounds for exclusion weren't illegal. The principle was blessed by no less than Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in the 1913 US Supreme Court decision, Marrone v. Washington Jockey Club. Under Marrone, which still retains its legal vitality in many respects, most race track managements can do pretty much whatever they want in determining whether a patron (i.e., fan, bettor) can be barred from the track. In the case of licensees like trainers and jockeys, though, the track's options are somewhat limited -- though not so much that NYRA couldn't act to deny stalls to Dutrow.

The key New York precedent is Jacobson v. NYRA, a 1973 Court of Appeals case involving Howard "Buddy" Jacobson, father of current NYRA trainer David Jacobson. (For some background on Buddy Jacobson's colorful career, both on and off the track, click here. The Court of Appeals decision can be found here for those without WestLaw or Lexis.) Jacobson's license had been restored after a suspension, but NYRA nonetheless denied him stalls at the track. Jacobson argued that NYRA couldn't deprive him of his livelihood without due process, and the court agreed, holding both (1) that NYRA, because of its exclusive franchise, monopoly position and extensive regulation by the state, was essentially a "state actor," in other words, just the same as a government agency, and (2) that NYRA was therefore required to provide due process to anyone that it deprived of property interests.

But that decision also said that due process would be satisfied if NYRA offered a hearing, and commented that at such a hearing, "it would be [the trainer's] heavy burden to prove that the denial of stall space was not a reasonable discretionary business judgment but was actuated by reasons other than those relating to the best interests of racing generally."

The Jacobson decision is still good law, and was applied in the 1983 case of Larry Saumell, a jockey who somewhat carelessly let a "battery" slip to the ground near the starting gate, where the track vet picked it up and was promptly and literally shocked. To exclude a licensee, like a trainer or jockey, who has not (yet) been suspended by the NYSRWB, NYRA must indeed offer due process, including a hearing, with a reasonable time for the licensee to present evidence, but once that due process has been provided, there's no absolute barrier to excluding the bad actor.

Similar standards have been adopted by courts in California, Illinois and New Jersey. In addition, some cases have held that a race track cannot use exclusion as a means of defaming a licensee or tortiously interfering with a licensee's business. But, despite these limitations, it still seems entirely doable for a track to deny stalls to a perceived bad actor, so long as, in Ben Liebman's words, it can provide a "reasonable justification" for the exclusion.

To be sure, NYRA is now, even more than it was in 1973, an arm of the state, given the recent state takeover of the NYRA Board of Directors. So perhaps an exclusion by NYRA, even if based on reasonable justification and after a hearing, could be challenged in court. But still, NYRA should at least have tried.

Undoubtedly, NYRA's lawyers -- the same people who gave former CEO Charlie Hayward such bad advice about the 1% takeout overcharge and about whether NYRA could keep its budget secret from state officials -- feared that any attempt to bar Dutrow would land them in court, perhaps a place where they're not altogether comfortable. But if all of us are serious about cleaning up racing, this was the place to start. It's a pity they didn't make the effort.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The Business September 5th 2012, The "LONG SETS WOLFGANG KILL THEM ALL" Edition

This week, the Business has called a private meeting of our Board of Directors. It’s all regulars this week, including our latest, greatest hire, Mike Drucker.

Sean Keane has the mind of a genius and the face of a newborn. His cheeks are like tea leaves, stare into them deeply and you will know your future. You’ll love him so much you will want to take his jokes home in your pocket, but don’t! They’re his.

Alex Koll is Awesome. The Awesome. Air Guitar HERO. And an impossibly talented filmmaker.
And a top notch writer. And a member of the legendary sketch group Boomtime, which means he can be appropriately described as the Bomb.

Caitlin Gill will make your dreams come true. Especially if you dream of really funny stand-up comedy. Or if you dream of homemade Twinkies. She can do that too.

Bucky Sinister is an irrepressible talent. A poet, author, and comedian who can also swing, snatch, clean, and jerk a kettlebell that weighs more than you do. Even though his arms could crush you, and one of them has a panther and a snake fighting on it, you will still want a hug.

Mike Drucker has written for SNL and the Onion, which are things of which you have totally heard. His jokes give comedians boners. Even the comedians with vaginas. BONERS. We are very pleased he has joined our fine organization.
Please keep in mind, this show sells out. Get there on time if you want a seat!