You Lucky Dog Productions is a fairly new comedy label, and their second release just dropped this week: J-L Cauvin’s spot-on Trump impression album Fireside Craps: 45s First 100 Daze. Here, Cauvin (as Trump) claims to be emulating FDR’s “Fireside Chats,” where the President would discuss the daily goings-on around the White House and his activities via a radio broadcast. Well, never one to be outdone, Trump claims he can do it better, stating FDR wasn’t that great a President (“he gave too much to too many”) and calling him one of “America’s Truly Great Cripples” (along with Helen Keller and Kevin Hart). Trump is apparently too busy to record fireside however, so he’s commenting on his first 100 days… while he takes a shit. Hence, Fireside Craps.
Initially, the concept of the album is reminiscent of Vaughn Meader’s The First Family album from 1962, where he impersonated Kennedy, only that was in front of a live audience. Here, Cauvin records all the chats alone in a studio, allowing the Trump impression to do what Trump himself does: verbal diarrhea.
The album opens with a bit of Trump’s “American Carnage” inauguration speech, which Cauvin then comments as Trump stating how historic the speech was and how much history there is in it, and it’s immediately here where my issue with this album lies: these are all things Trump is likely to say. The impression is so dead-on that it almost removes the initial humor found in the ridiculous way he’s commenting on things.
Take, for example, the third track on the album, “No Russia.” Here, the President assures us he has no connection with Russia, claiming he doesn’t “even like Russian dressing on [his] sandwiches”. It all seems like an actual diatribe Trump would send out via Twitter, only we’re hearing him say this — ending it all with a gentle nod to James Comey. Since this “chat” comes from Day 10 of Trump’s administration, it smacks of a preposterous premise, that given this administration may not actually be that preposterous.
In the Day 20 track, “Big Beautiful Healthcare,” we hear Cauvin as Trump speak as we always assume he does behind closed doors. He laments how Obamacare was the “worst pieces of legislation […] in the history of paper” then goes on to espouse how this new “Trumpcare” is better (“you’ll actually want to get sick”), because it was made by a bunch of white men – only to have him change his tune immediately when word comes in that it didn’t pass, quickly changing the name to “Ryancare” and laying the blame on all the white men he just congratulated moments before.
That’s what makes this album such a conundrum. Cauvin’s impersonation is so on-point and accurate that you have a hard time believing Trump didn’t actually say these things. Even the most ridiculous scenarios or jokes leave you with that twinge of “oh wait” after you hear or laugh at them, as the “it’s funny ‘cause it’s true” element of them wears off quickly and the listener realizes it’s actually “it’s sad ‘cause it’s true.” That’s the trouble with making fun of someone who already says ridiculous things: anything your impression does is sadly still within the realm of possibility.
Sure, there are moments where the ridiculous is so over-the-top that it becomes funny, like Trump’s insistence on calling actress American Ferrar “Mexican Ferrar”, or his praise of Jared Kushner by way of praising Jared’s wife (Trump’s own daughter) claiming how since it’s alright on Game of Thrones what he says about her is just as acceptable. But it’s these moments of overt ridiculousness that come too few and far between.
That’s not to say it isn’t good, and there are plenty of stand-out bright spots. Trump’s “heartfelt” interludes to son-in-law Jared K over his dislike of Steve Bannon (or “Stevie B” as Cauvin coins), or how Trump insists that the idea for the Wall came from Pink Floyd and that it will at least have a door “to let Salma Hayek in,” bring about genuine laughs. Again however, it’s because they stretch things to beyond conceivable. When Cauvin plays the impression well – and his take on Donald’s speech patterns and language is what really sells everything said — it becomes hard to differentiate the comedic fantasy from the tragic reality.
The album’s penultimate track is Trump’s dis track, “Hit Em Trump”, where the album goes full meta and Cauvin’s Trump calls out the other impersonators as lackluster, while stating that none of them can hold a candle to… J-L Cauvin.
At only 28 minutes it’s not a lengthy album, and there are definitely some high points that bring about solid laughs. If allowed to play, Cauvin’s impression is probably one of the most accurate out there, which may be both his strength and his weakness.