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.
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.