Tommy Savitt’s “Who Wants Me Now? (Director’s Cut)”

Who Wants Me Now? Director’s Cut is an updated re-release of the 2007 album by the same name – except for…you know…the whole “Director’s Cut” thing. I freely admit I was completely unfamiliar with the original album, so I won’t be able to contrast, compare, and tell you if this re-release is a good or a bad thing. And the fact that I have nothing to compare it to may also be a good or a bad thing. In an interview with…someone (it’s never really made clear who the interviewer is) on the final track, Tommy Savitt explains this is basically a re-working of some of his older material, punched up a bit, expanded, and re-configured.

I will say this much: whatever it is Savitt tweaked, he did it well. Who Wants Me Now? is just what people look for in a comedy album: one-liners, mis-direction, a handful of groaners, and a lot of laughs. There are a lot of zingers packed inside and Savitt wastes no time getting to them. He begins by explaining he went to Brooklyn Law School – because it’s the best acting school there is – and graduated in the top 1/3 of the bottom 1/3 of his class. From that point on, we start to understand why.

Savitt plays the role of the happy, confident fool perfectly (“Think about it! Use your placenta!”). His statements are completely preposterous and it’s fun as he feigns utter incredulity when people don’t agree with his point of view. (“I fight for you! I’m against the seat belt laws; they tell you it saves lives. If you’re strapped in a Ford Focus, is your life worth living?…And the best part of being flung from your Focus? You may be hit by something nicer.”)

Despite Savitt’s tough exterior – he’s almost a cross between Eddie Pepitone and the late Mike Destefano – it soon becomes obvious that all he needs is love. He explains this to the ladies in the audience, listing off reasons why they should go home with him. Of course, the more he talks – pleads, almost – the more it comes to light why an evening with him may not be the wisest choice. (“Some of these men will make love to you and then brag about it to their friends. I would never do that. I would show them the video.”) After similar stories of why he is the “good guy,” revealing one embarrassing attribute about himself after another, Savitt delivers his signature tagline: “Who wants me now?”

Savitt only shifts gears to encourage the audience to buy his CD, which he claims includes relationship-saving hints, tips, and pseudo-questions of advice from the public, all of which begin with his other catchphrase, “Hey Tommy.” Savitt is proud to share some of the advice he’s given in the past and once again the more he brags, the more he shouldn’t. He has the audience under his full control and they respond exactly as they should; they’re playing the exact role Savitt has orchestrated for them.

A lot of comedians cover a vast array of topics and cover a lot of pop culture ground in their act, but not Savitt. He doesn’t need to. He’s carved out a nice niche for himself, sticking mainly to relationships and gleefully putting himself down along the way. He’s taken a smart approach to self-deprecation. We never pity or feel sorry for him. Because he’s so confident, his shortcomings don’t make him seem like less of a man. He states boldly his beliefs on women and what he thinks they want – and need – and basically ends up listing reasons why he finds himself alone. Savitt proudly portrays himself as a romantic idiot…and the way he does it is sheer genius.

Hannibal Buress’s “Live from Chicago”

I’ve gotten into the habit of not allowing myself to look forward to the things I enjoy. Don’t worry, I’m not as much of a depressing Debbie Downer as that statement makes it sound, I’ve just been burned too many times by things not living up to the amazing expectations they’ve built up for themselves. Indiana Jones 4, both Hangover sequels, the latest album from Justin Timberlake…All forms of entertainment I was looking forward to, only to be let down by my unrealistic expectations. That being said, there are a handful of things I’ve learned I can look forward to. Films by Pixar, the fourth season of “Arrested Development” and the fifth season of “Community” are all examples of things I am wary of building up too high only to have my expectations consistently blown away.

And now you can add to that list Hannibal Buress.

When “Animal Furnace” came out, the follow-up to his hilarious “My Name is Hannibal” I was a bit nervous. How in the world could he possibly top that? Well, he did it by being funny (I know, go figure). So, when I saw “Live from Chicago” was coming down the pipeline, I felt a little more secure about looking forward to it. Yes, I was excited. Yes, I wanted to hear it. And yes, I was pretty sure he’d kill me with comedy once again.

He did.

Buress, with his biting comedy cleverly wrapped in relaxed delivery, confidently takes the stage and immediately wins over the crowd with his Windy City inside jokes. From that point on it’s smooth sailing as we are led through the seas of New Orleans (Seriously? A Parades Department, NOPD?), rappers trying to impress us with their not-so-hardcore drug of choice, and what Buress would do with an extra $5000, his bare hands, and an unsuspecting penguin.

The way Buress tells a story is engaging and I particularly enjoy how genuinely surprised he seems to be when the details take an odd turn. This isn’t a guy coming at you with a look-how-funny-I-am approach or a you-won’t-believe-the-silly-thing-I-made-up braggadocio but instead sits down beside you and quietly asks, “This thing that happened to me. It’s kinda weird, right?”

There’s never a lull in the show and certainly no “skippable” tracks, as the CD rolls out one great bit after another. You’ll be glad to know that opening for Tracy Morgan is just as random as you would expect it to be, you’ll find out what it’s like to wait in line for the bathroom in front of Scarlett Johansson (and not let her jump ahead), and you’ll find out just why, when it comes to who Buress outlives, Will Smith needs to be the first to go.

So rest assured fellow lovers-of-Hannibal. This project is just as good as you hoped it would be. It’s just as funny as you wished it would be and Buress is just as skilled as you knew he would be. Keep keeping your expectations high and Buress will keep blowing them away.

Tommy Johnagin’s “Stand Up Comedy 3”


The last time I reviewed a Tommy Johnagin project, I struggled. Oh, I didn’t have a problem coming up with things to rave about. Quite the opposite. There were so many good things on “Stand Up Comedy 2” I didn’t know what to write about and what to leave on the cutting room floor (as if there are actually words and paragraphs strewn about my apartment that I just couldn’t get to). It was too much of a good thing, but trust me I wasn’t complaining.
With the arrival of his next CD, naturally titled “Stand Up Comedy 3,” I am pleased to say I find myself facing the exact same quandary. This album is so good, so funny, I honestly don’t know where to start. I usually try to keep my reviews to around 500 words. My notes alone on this one clock in at 350 so yeah, there’s a lot of good stuff here. 
Johnagin begins with a track where he recounts the time he was on the phone with his mother, trying (unsuccessfully) to walk her through iTunes. As someone who has been in the exact same situation, I couldn’t help but laugh as he vented his frustration, proclaiming he’s not smart enough to be dumb enough to figure out how in the world she managed to open a song in Microsoft Works. This track alone is funnier than many entire comedy albums and if Johnagin had made this six-and-a-half minute track the only one on the project (or, as he brags, the “compact disc”), it would still be worth the price of a full-length CD. 
Fortunately for us there are 11 more that follow and each one is just as funny. Johnagin is one of those comedians whose stories are so incredible you can’t help but wonder exactly how much of them are true and how much have been embellished for the stage. Did his girlfriend really catch him kissing another guy at a Gay Holiday Party? Did he really get into that argument with his girlfriend’s friend? And did he really hire a handyman to hang a picture? 
At the end of the day, though, who cares how much is real and how much isn’t? What really matters is whether or not his tales made me laugh and trust me, they did.
A lot of the material here involves his girlfriend. She’s older than him and that’s something he’s comfortable with (except for the fact he constantly worries she’ll pass away). Johnagin feels weird referring to her as his girlfriend because they have a new baby together (“together” being used very loosely). He isn’t against the idea of marrying her but he’s also not in love with the thought of marrying a chick who has a baby. 
I’m going to go ahead and assume that Johnagin’s girlfriend has no idea that he’s a comedian – or maybe she just has the best sense of humor in the world – because the stories he tells about her (like the time they tried to have sex while she was 8-1/2 months pregnant and he seriously underestimated how much she weighed) are so hilariously wrong, he must be the king of homemade “I owe you a massage for that joke” coupons.
Johnagin is witty and smart and you will love every minute you spend with him. Smoking may be allowed on the patio (There’s no way of knowing what I am actually referring to when I say that but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more clever metaphor for it) and he may or may not have been a little inebriated on the greatest night of his life, but at the end of the day this is a good guy. He can get hotter dudes than his girlfriend, he loves his baby way more than he loves yours, and he’s glad his baby isn’t ugly. 

Oh yeah. And he’s hilarious. I’m already looking forward to Part 4.

The Sklar Brothers’ “What Are We Talking About?”


Is there anything more beautiful than witnessing a performance where everything just clicks? Whether it’s watching your favorite pitcher throw a no-hitter, your favorite dancer nail every trick in their routine, or standing there slack-jawed as your buddy bowls a perfect 300, you can’t help but walk away with a sensation of “Wow.” And in most cases, it’s not just that they’re really good at what they do…they also make it look effortless. Of course, the easier they make it look to perform such feats is proof of the perfect storm of natural talent and hours they’ve spent working on their craft. 
Add to the list above Jason and Randy Sklar, AKA The Sklar Brothers, and their new album, “What Are We Talking About?” It’s no coincidence this project, complete with pre, post, and halftime shows from your favorite commentators, is sports-themed as the guys pull off a performance just as sweet as any you’ve seen in the Sweet Science. Their teamwork is flawless – I suspect it’s due to being twins and the supernatural telekinetic powers they possess as a result – and their timing is impeccable as their words overlap just enough to keep your brain engaged, forcing it to keep up with their rat-a-tat speed without it being overloaded.
Having another person to work off of onstage gives them a bit of an advantage when it comes to re-living conversations (like the most depressing chat with Lightning McQueen you’ll ever hear) and pulling off some pretty ingenious impressions (their comparison of Google to a guy at a party with inappropriate additions to a conversation is a great premise and their dueling Allen Iverson is eerily accurate).
Unlike most comedy duos, whose bits are comprised primarily of interacting with each other in various situations or straight guy/ridiculous guy scenarios, the Sklars instead work as a two-headed singular point of view coming at you in living stereo. Their rapid fire back-and-forth is an impressive display of timing and the occasional punchlines spoken in unison serve as audible forms of bold and italics (A great example of this is when they point out the Christmas song that begins with a threat: YOU BETTER WATCH OUT)
You could have the most impressive delivery in the world – and these guys definitely have that – but without the material to go along with it, you can only last so far on presentation alone. Fortunately the Sklars aren’t lacking on that front as they serve up the best place to build the Mullet Hall of Fame, absolutely kill it with an impression of Stephen A Smith, explain how Richard Simmons is bad for your wifi connection, and re-write jokes they wrote with children.
The title of the CD asks the question “What Are We Talking About?” and the Sklars provide an answer by talking about everything. From anthropomorphized products that shouldn’t have a Brooklyn accent to the comparison of Lance Armstrong’s life before and after the doping scandal to the best – and most accurate – Pepsi commercial ever, it’s not just whatthe Sklars are talking about that makes this album so fun, but how  they talk about it. Looks like it’s gonna be another good season for Team Sklar.

Joe DeRosa’s “You Let Me Down”

By virtue of writing this review, I’m veering perilously close to the cesspool of people whom Joe DeRosa warns us to avoid on his new project, You Let Me DownTo be honest, I can’t say he’d be wrong. The Internet really is chock-full of people who think the rest of the world needs to be informed of their every thought and opinion simply because they have access to a keyboard and free coffee-shop wifi. 
I’ve always been careful to stress that my opinions here at Comedy Reviews are exactly that: opinions. You may very well disagree with my point of view, my style of writing, or the font I’ve lazily chosen, and that’s totally allowed. At the end of the day, I’m just a dork who enjoys listening to – and writing about – stand-up comedy with very little actual stand-up experience that would qualify me to do so. 
I say all of that to say this: I really liked You Let Me Down. It made me laugh. A lot.
And now, as is the duty of every self-proclaimed online reviewer, I shall expound despite the fact no one asked me to.
I’ve been a fan of DeRosa’s for some time now (long-time readers of the site may recall my very first review was his The Depression Auction CD), and despite the title of this newest outing he has yet to let me down. There are few people who can wring so much funny out of so much disgruntledness. As DeRosa gets more and more wound up (Why can’t we just go back to punching each other in the face? Why do we insist on open-casket funerals? And seriously, Arizona… what the hell is wrong with you?), the humor of his rants escalates proportionally. 

Unlike many comics shining the light of WTF on people and situations around them, DeRosa isn’t doing so from a position of superiority. He’s transparent about his battle with anxiety and the one-on-one confrontations he and Prozac have battled out. That being said, there’s a lot out there begging to be dealt with and taken down a peg or two and Joe is just the guy for the job. 

DeRosa has no patience for Olympic athletes and even less understanding of the confusion that sets in when they inevitably act up. Of course Ryan Lochte did what he did; he’s an athlete and… well… athletes are assholes. Where’s the mystery?

It’s golden geese like these whose necks DeRosa so gleefully throttles on this album, and to be completely honest, it’s a great thing to witness. He doesn’t shy away from being what may be perceived as politically incorrect and, of course, therein lies the comedy. He refuses to play it safe and as a result we get some great bits on gender equality (Are we fistfighting or not?), dating apps (There’s a fine line between psychopaths, sociopaths, and serial killers), and porn (It’s a shame that when it comes to entering the industry the door is no longer exit-only).

Despite what appears to be a dismal outlook on society, his seemingly constant state of dissatisfaction, or his general mode of being annoyed, one can’t help but see through the entire facade. You just get the sense that buried deep down beneath the exasperation beats the heart of a genuinely good guy – or at least the heart of someone doing his best to be good. 

But then… another celebrity gets a free pass just because they’re a celebrity and another douche golfer throws a hissy fit and another homicide cop gives an interview that makes him sound crazier than the maniac he’s hunting and… well… 

Seriously, can we just start punching people in the face again?

Daniel Tosh’s “People Pleaser”

In light of recent events across the world dealing with comedians being prosecuted and persecuted for the jokes they tell, I’m glad we have comedians like Daniel Tosh. We need to be shocked. We need to laugh at what shocked us. And then we need to be shocked again. 
If you’re familiar with Tosh and his comedy then you know that’s his strong suit and with his new CD, “People Pleaser,” he doesn’t disappoint. I’d like to share some of his one-liners here, but to be honest, I don’t know how well it would translate. It’s not solely what he says, but also they way it’s delivered. With his trademark cocky persona and who-gives-a-crap attitude, he’s the perfect comedy caricature. Tosh the comedian belongs in the same category as Archie Bunker or Don Rickles. We don’t laugh because we agree with what they’re saying, but because what they’re saying is so incredibly outrageous and should never be said aloud. 
Sometimes that approach gets Tosh into trouble, as he briefly touches upon when he mentions a recent joke that blew up social media and offended people who don’t completely understand how an on-screen persona works. Of course, he responds exactly how you’d think he would respond, by pouring grease on the fire and then throwing the fire at his loved ones.
Considering the current state of the nation, perhaps Tosh is exactly the comedian we need. We’ve been coddled and waited on long enough. It’s about time someone gave us some much-needed straight talk. He’s talking to you, “America’s Number One”-ers, half-marathon runners, hoarders, female Crossfitters, and people who have ever uttered the sentence, “There’s nothing funny about _________.”
We’ve become such a reactionary society, so eager to post on Facebook yet another story about how someone dared offend us, Tosh is a breath of fresh air amid the pollution of “you hurt my feels!” that I’ve been choking on as of late. 

No one is safe. Not kids with terminal illnesses, not the Dyson company (I wish I could see the looks on their faces when they hear their “product placement”), not cafe artists with no idea of how to price their work, and certainly not the city of Cleveland.
Tosh isn’t for everyone and he’d be the first to tell you that (he warns the crowd on more than one occasion that it’s about to get worse. A lot worse) and that’s totally fine. If you’re not a fan of Tosh or his comedy, then you’ll actually enjoy his bit on the time he lost a road rage battle. There are few things that are as glorious as seeing someone you can’t stand get a face full of chewed-up Doritos. But, if you’re like me and enjoy his comedy, then you’ll also enjoy the story of the time he won a road rage battle. 
“People Pleaser” may not please all of the people all of the time, but let’s be honest, it’s not supposed to. And it’s no fun if someone doesn’t get angry.

Keith Alberstadt’s “Walk It Off”

Spring has sprung and with it comes the emergence of warmer weather, driving with your windows rolled down, and longer daylight hours. Perhaps the most welcome arrival, though, is “Walk It Off,” the outstanding new release from Keith Alberstadt that hasn’t left my playlist since the day it came out. 
With friendly sarcasm accentuated by his punchy delivery, this project has been the perfect way to quench what has been a relatively dry comedy spell for me. When I use the phrase “friendly sarcasm,” it’s exactly what I mean. It can be hard to be sarcastic without coming off as angry, condescending, or jagoff-y. Alberstadt pulls off what most comics can’t: making snarky-yet-truthful comments that are laugh-out-loud funny without resorting to mean-spirited take-no-prisoners comedy. There are no victims here…Except for the fish keeping its eye on the food container. Or people who drink green tea. Or Alberstadt’s dad (but only while answering his smart phone)

Reading the track listing is an exercise in “Ah yeah, that was a good one, too” and I’m smirking now recalling the toddler who has trouble with the letter “R,” the vegan-intruder pillow barricade, white noise birds, and the parenting style in the 80s that inspired the title of the CD. As I’m sitting here smiling to myself, I’m wondering if it’s not unlike Alberstadt’s own creepy smile he didn’t even know he had.
I usually allow a few minutes at the beginning of a comedian’s set to allow him (or her) to settle in, get a feel for the crowd, and find their groove. That’s never been the case with Alberstadt. He’s good to go from the get-go. He’s comfortable on stage and from the second he begins there’s no doubt that he’s got this. It’s pretty impressive how quickly he puts the crowd at ease and there’s not even a moment of “gimme a second” trepidation.
What I’m trying to say – as if you couldn’t already tell – is I really enjoyed this album and the third time listening was just as enjoyable as the first. Usually when I write a review for this blog I listen, listen again, listen yet again, write, and then archive it. That won’t be the case this time around. This is comedy you’ll want to hang on to for a while. 

Or at least until something scares away the white noise birds. After that…you’re on your own.

Tony Sam’s “Scaredy Cat”

When it comes to comedy, there’s no right or wrong approach. Some, like Carlin, have become renowned for their ingenious wordplay. Others, like Seinfeld and Gaffigan, have perfected the art of observation. Then there are comedians like C.K. and Brody whose craft is rooted strongly in a brilliantly-crafted story. 
And then you have Tony Sam, whose latest album “Scaredy Cat” wonderfully displays that he has decided to embrace the simple tactic of…just having a good time.
It works. 
That’s not to say that Sam isn’t a great storyteller (he is, as is displayed by the epic retelling of the time he was arrested for drunk driving – not in a car – and how he decided to make the most of the adventure) and if you doubt his observational skills, then I present as evidence his riffs on men with beardy beards and the real reason homeless people don’t want your restaurant leftovers.
Sam gleefully adds a touch of fun and whimsy to each of his bits, all of them accentuated by his distinct vocal tone and cadence. His voice reminded me of Will Forte cranked to 11 but Sam put it better when he described it as the love-child voice-baby of Homer Simpson and Kermit the Frog. 
Needless to say, his voice hasn’t exactly helped his cause when it comes to suave seduction (and Sam has a few hilarious war stories to offer as proof). When it comes to comedy, however, it’s a blessing in disguise. “La Voz” serves to heighten his often-manic tales of pregnancy scares (or, as women probably refer to them, “near miracles”), giant bee attacks (wait…what exactly are you saying?), and his impression of his mother. 
If you haven’t figured it out by now, Sam (or “T-Bone,” as he likes to refer to himself) has a more-than-slightly skewed outlook on life which is probably why he’s doing much better at stand-up than he did when he was working at a fancy cake shop (a bakery so fancy, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a cake shoppe). Only when you’re dealing with the general public do you have to put up with complaints about cakes personalized for robots (oops) or children crying about too much fudge (Really? Who complains about too much fudge?)
The title of this project is fitting, as Sam shares with us a number of things that frighten him. It’s not strange that he suffers from arachnophobia but what does set him apart is how it affects his Spider-Man viewing habits (he doesn’t watch) and his thoughts on a better plot for the webslinger (just a guy with a bag of spiders, throwing them at people). Other things that give him the jitters include today’s modern day in-your-face gum commercials and the Gorton’s Fisherman who, apparently, also dabbles in chemistry.
Scaredy Cat” is a fun CD that I enjoyed from beginning to end each time I listened.  You’re sure to have a good time as well, unless perhaps you’re seated in the front row with your arms crossed. In that case, just….just stop it.

Matt Braunger’s “Big Dumb Animal”

When it comes to writing reviews for this website, I’ve developed a method that I believe works well and gives each project a pretty fair shot. I listen to the CD twice all the way through before writing a single word. Then I write down the track listing and as I play through for a third time I begin to make notes. This has become a self-imposed rule that I’ve stuck to on all but a handful of the nearly 300 reviews I’ve thrown up here. Sometimes I jot down quotes and sometimes just the premise for bits that grabbed my attention. I write down what stood out as really good and I write down what stood out as really bad. If a track goes by that isn’t particularly noteworthy, I simply delete that line and move on to the next. By the end of the final playback, I have a skeleton of a review from which to work.
After reviewing – and really enjoying – Matt Braunger’s “Shovel Fighter” back in July of 2012, I was looking forward to his follow-up project, “Big Dumb Animal.” After my first time around, though, I was a bit disappointed. Nothing jumped out at me and I was hard-pressed to recall and specific bits. I remembered that he yelled a lot but…that was about it. 
I wanted to like this CD and was hopeful that on my second listen things would click. There were a few occasions of “Oh yeah, this one was good” but for the most part I found myself apathetic and I couldn’t put my finger on why. Braunger was certainly putting his all into it and he sure was yelling a lot but it all felt to be much ado about nothing.
As I approached my third listen, I told myself that this would be the time everything fell into place. I made a list of the 18 track titles and ended up taking notes on less than half of them (only seven, to be exact) and finally had to be honest and admit to myself that I just didn’t connect with this one. I didn’t love it and I didn’t hate it and perhaps therein lies the problem: “Big Dumb Animal” didn’t make me feel anything.
Braunger’s bits on blood donor questionnaires and the guy on the bus who didn’t know when to not hit on a woman were entertaining but there seemed to be more misses than hits this time around. He takes the long, long, long, looong way around to get to a “Please drink responsibly” punchline and I found his description of a waiter spilling a tray of food so unbelievably slapstick-y, it was like it happened in an episode of “Saved By the Bell.” 
What really stands out to me, though, is the fact that 11 tracks went by and garnered no reaction at all. That’s a big percentage and a fact I can’t ignore. As a lifelong fan of the Chicago Cubs, I know a bad batting average when I see one. But, as a lifelong fan of the Chicago Cubs, I don’t give up on my team just because they had a bad game. “Big Dumb Animal” wasn’t what I hoped it would be, but I’m still optimistic. We’ll get ‘em next time, guys.

Maronzio Vance’s “Laughmatic”

knew I liked Maronzio Vance. 
Maybe it’s because he was a cast member of one of my favorite canceled-too-soon television shows of recent history. Maybe it’s because he comes highly recommended by a friend whose opinion I highly respect. Or maybe – just maybe – it’s because he’s so freakin’ funny (or, as I used to say growing up in Indiana, “so stinkin’ funny”)
I’ll go with the latter. I admit I didn’t put two and two together and didn’t even realize Vance was an “Enlisted” cast member until I peeked at his website. It was a great show but unfortunately not around long enough for me to become familiar with the names of the cast members (I’m still bitter about this show slipping through the cracks knowing “Two and a Half Men” is still on the air).
I like to think I’m not so influential that I automatically like everything my friend recommends based on the sole fact it was his recommendation. We have a healthy “agree to disagree” relationship when it comes to comedy we don’t see eye-to-eye on. We can disagree and discuss without it hampering our friendship. Weird, I know.
Which leaves the final option: Vance is indeed one funny guy. 
You don’t have to listen to “Laughmatic” long before that fact makes itself apparent. Vance is laid-back and comfortable onstage and his comedy is smooth and relatable. Vance is one of us: a regular Joe who just happens to pick up on the messed-up stupid quirks of daily life. One wouldn’t think that a matter of four cents would be something about which a scene would be caused but sometimes it’s the principal of the matter and you have to stand up to the Little Caesar and fight for your rights.
Vance knows what it is to feel the bite of our current economy and when he learns that clean shoes are just as good as new shoes, it’s a game changer. He struggles with the depression that comes with residing in a studio apartment (you’re only one room away from being homeless) and he would gladly eat healthier if you didn’t have to take out a home loan in order to do so.
I really like the way Vance handles the touchy subject of race (yes, I stole that phrase from “Avenue Q”). His commentary is biting and honest but never comes across as preachy or angry. Whether he’s accidentally being racist while giving a threat level-themed compliment, having his handouts refused by a prejudiced vagrant, or explaining to a child why white people hate black people, Vance creates an environment where everyone feels free to laugh.
That’s not to say Vance has never ruffled any feathers. Just ask the girl working at the cell phone cover kiosk in the mall. Or the man on the street who is particularly stingy with his dollar dances. Or anyone who thinks the bald eagle should be the American mascot forever and ever, despite the fact that bald eagles – the symbol of freedom – are almost extinct. Cockroaches, on the other hand, will be around forever. Just sayin’.
The CD is bookended with a behind-the-scenes pre and post-show interview with Rooftop Records’s Dominic Del Bene. It’s fun to listen to Vance give his thoughts on the performance, reviewing himself in a much funnier and more entertaining way than I can. “Is it great?” he muses. “I don’t know.”

It is, Maronzio. It is.