Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Top 10 Comedy Albums of 2010

One of my favorite parts of compiling my "Best Of" list was spending this last week re-listening to some of my favorite releases (according to my iTunes, I spent 21.4 hours listening to some of the best of the best). To say 2010 was an excellent year is putting it lightly. I had my choices narrowed down to 24 albums (you can see that list here) and narrowing that list down to 10 was not easy. As much as I listened and re-listened, I just couldn't bring myself to not include a few names so I'm taking the easy way out and also including 5 Honorable Mentions.

If your only knowledge of stand-up comedy is Robin Williams and The Blue Collar Comedy Tour, you're really missing out. Not that they aren't funny (OK, the Blue Collar guys aren't, but I'm still a fan of Robin...even though his absence from my list this year would seem to prove otherwise) but there's definitely more out there than most people may be aware of. Hopefully this will help point you in the direction of some very deserving comics who are out there working the clubs, popping up on TV (both in front of and behind the camera) and bringing some serious funny. Follow the links, explore, and support them by buying an album or DVD (or both). You deserve it. And they do, too.


TOP 10 COMEDY ALBUMS OF 2010

10. Janeane Garofalo, If You Will
I'll be honest: I went into this one with lowered expectations. I assumed this was going to be one long, angry political rant and after listening to the first few minutes I felt bad for pigeonholing Garofalo. I found myself really enjoying If You Will as she takes on Homeland Security, babies, and even her own public persona. Garofalo comes across as more relatable than ever and I'm hoping she keeps at least one foot firmly planted in her stand-up roots for a while.


9. David CrossBigger And Blackerer
No one can point out our weird idiosyncrasies like David Cross. And no one can analyze those idiosyncrasies and dissect them, revealing the additional layers of idiosyncrasies hidden inside like David Cross. His breakdown of an actual British postcard/advertisement reaching out to date rape victims is nothing short of observational humor brilliance magnified to such a degree, if you deprive yourself of hearing it, you may regret it...or worse.

8. Joe DeRosaThe Depression Auction
Joe DeRosa is sick of it, and none of us are safe. He is more than willing to point out things in life that are so ridiculous, they need to be publicly called out and ridiculed. We all have guilty pleasures and DeRosa is a master at making us feel guilty for taking pleasure in them while laughing at ourselves the entire time. DeRosa isn't perfect, either, and he doesn't hesitate to take himself to task. As I listened to the album, I could almost picture him in front of a mirror yelling at himself, pointing a finger and wagging it in his reflection's face. We've all shouted at ourselves for doing something we knew we shouldn't have, but I'm willing to bet we've never been as funny as DeRosa while doing it.


7. Kevin HartSeriously Funny

Kevin Hart reminds me of Chris Tucker if Chris Tucker was funny and/or entertaining. His rapid-fire delivery and carefully chosen an-un-ci-a-tion of words add to each punch. He doesn't approach various topics as much as they approach him, and his reaction - sometimes he's confused, sometimes he's angry, sometimes he doesn't know how to react - resonates with the inner child in all of us. If you it's been a while since your stomach hurt from laughing too hard, his story of the time he was in grade school and swore at a teacher will remedy that. This album couldn't be more aptly-titled. This guy is seriously, seriously funny.



6. Lachlan PattersonJokes To Make Love To

If Christopher Walken ever decided to go into stand-up comedy and was amazing at it, people would accuse him of stealing from Lachlan Patterson. Patterson's pacing and timing are certainly reminiscent of the famed actor, but there's so much more going on here. His bold confidence in front of a crowd not only allows him to liken old ladies' makeup application skills to getting into a paintball fight, but it then gives him the OK to ask why he's not receiving a standing ovation for saying it. Patterson doesn't apologize for anything, and he doesn't have to. The "plate of food" button on a microwave does negate the other buttons. We should encourage Olympic swimmers to smoke pot. And saying you rescued a cat really isn't the right way to put it. No doubt about it: Standing O.



5. Steve ByrneThe Byrne Identity

Whenever you make a Top 10 list, it's bound to spark some conversation and controversy. "Hey, you didn't include _____." Well, buckle up kids because I'm about to take it a step further by stating The Byrne Identity contains the single best track of any comedy album this year. I'm talking about Track 5, "Stereotypes to Music." Simply put, Byrne names a style of music and then begins to tell you the type of person who listens to that music. I freely admit my summation doesn't begin to do it justice but that's why I'm where I am and Byrne is where he is. Because his stereotypes are dead-on, you'll find yourself laughing those big, full-on, I-can't-believe-he-just-said-that-but-holy-crap-he's-right laughs. That's not to say the rest of the album isn't as skillfully written and flat-out funny; it is. Byrne tackles the struggle of his identity: Who exactly is he? His Korean/Irish ancestry makes it difficult for him to know exactly where he fits in. Or should fit in. Or even want to fit in. Until he comes to a decision, he'll just have to accept that he's going to be identified as one of this year's best.



4. Brian ReganAll By Myself

I started seeing people post Best-of-2010 lists on a variety of subjects as early as November. I chose to wait a bit, just in case something came out in December that deserved to be on the list. It's albums like All By Myself that made me glad I waited. This one just came out and once again Regan knocks it out of the park. No one is funnier when they're flummoxed and this time around Regan is undone by hearing tests, watching horse racing, and wrestling with his kids. There's a reason Regan has made a name for himself and has become so popular: He's one of the most consistently funny comedians working now, and this album does not disappoint.



3. Bill BurrLet It Go

Speaking of consistent, Bill Burr has fast become one of my favorite comedians. He's flustered, he's frustrated, and he's not holding back. Burr tackles topics we've all thought about but never had the guts to say out loud. How many times have you heard stay-at-home moms commended for having "the most difficult job on the planet?" Well, Burr has an issue with that and makes a strong case for the other side. Sure, obesity is a problem in this country, but no one tackles the "horde of fat people wandering out of The Cheesecake Factory" with such side-splitting results. And I think it's fair to say we're all sick of the SPCA commercials set to that weepy Sarah McLaughlin song, but no one has been able to crystallize my hatred for this ad campaign quite like Burr. Let It Go is another solid project from a strong comic and never before has someone's unbridled anger brought me so much joy and laughter.


Before Intimate Moments, I was only familiar with Aziz Ansari's stand-up work from his appearance on such projects like the Invite Them Up compilation. He only had one track on that album and as good as it was, it did not prepare me for how amazing his solo CD was going to be. Every track on this album is top-notch laugh-out-loud comedy. Ansari's slight Carolina drawl mixed with his hip-hop sensibilities makes for a unique voice that left me in tears as he talks about his battle with his little cousin on Facebook. As he relays an evening out (and in) with Kanye West, you realize the story is just outrageous enough to be believable. The album comes to a hilarious climax as he re-caps an entire R. Kelly concert in under six minutes. If Parks and Recreation is your only knowledge of Ansari and his work, I cannot express to you how much you are missing out. Trust me.

1. Hannibal BuressMy Name is Hannibal

When I first heard this album back in August, I turned to my wife and said, "I just listened to the funniest album of the year." Four months later I still stand by that statement. Hannibal Buress's cool, laid-back Is-he-high?-No-He's-Just-Cooler-Than-You approach left me laughing from start to finish. There's not a weak link on this album. Whether he is arguing with computer girls in video games, adding an apostrophe to his first name to make it better, or explaining how one would judge a pigeon-kicking contest, each track is funnier than the previous one, leading to a hilarious finale with one of the best callback references in recent comedy history. The hardest thing about making this year's Top 10 list was deciding which albums would make the cut. The easiest thing about making this year's Top 10 list was placing My Name Is Hannibal at #1. If someone asks me what's new in comedy, what's good in comedy, who should they be listening to, I can answer their query with one name: His name is Hannibal.






HONORABLE MENTION

There wasn't room for these on the list, but I still felt it was important to give them a mention.

  • Lewis BlackStark Raving Black Lewis Black is back and he's just as angry as ever. If you're already a fan, then you won't be disappointed.

  • Robert Buscemi, Palpable If you like your comedy a little more than off-center, then Buscemi's breakthrough Palpable will not disappoint.

  • Keith Alberstadt, It's Pronounced 'Jenkins' Alberstadt's refreshing outlook on life will leave you seeing things from a new - and funnier - perspective.

  • Anthony Jeselnik, Shakespeare At one point in the CD Jeselnik mentions he spent time in New Orleans. Someone in the audience whoops and Jeselnik immediately tells him to shut up. And it's hilarious.

  • Brian Scolaro, Disaster
    Pay no attention to the title of this album. It's misleading. Lindsay Lohan is a disaster. Kate Gosselin is a disaster. This project from Scolaro is a rousing comedic success.


Which brings us to the part of the blog where you leave your thoughts. Agree? Disagree? Who did you like in 2010? As always, your feedback is welcome. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Brian Regan's "All By Myself"


Brian Regan is back with a brand-new project, All By Myself, and it's everything I hoped it would be: Brian Regan at his Brian Regan-ist. He's just as confused and confounded as ever and his desperate attempt at comprehending life's little puzzles brings about a hilarious frustration.

I've always liked Brian Regan because he reminds me how much of a doofus I am. Not because his approach is "I can't believe you do this" but "I can't believe I do this." I don't know if it's necessarily a good thing or a bad thing, but I've been there, and I can relate. He's not too proud to admit he's an adult and still doesn't grasp concepts like understanding the food pyramid, how to read a text a message, and broken down cars stranded in the middle of the highway.

Watching (or hearing) Regan try to wrap his brain around everyday conundrums grows to hilarious proportions as he spirals into a frenzied outburst we all wish we could mimic in our own lives.

Regan is often a highly-physical comedian, accentuating a joke or premise with what has become his trademark head-bobbing strut. That isn't lost on an audio CD, as his vocal cadence and inflection punctuate his observations masterfully and get his point across.

Regan's kids are the focal point of a few tracks, but his material never approaches the cheesy "those darn kids" zone. Instead it's an interesting battle of wits between children and what is basically a child trapped in an adult's body.

When he brings up such already-been-there topics like Captain "Sully" Sullenberger and the Balloon Boy, he tempts the comedy fates. Haven't we already heard every possible angle on these stories from countless comedians and late-night hosts? You'd think that would be the case, but you haven't heard them like this. When I think of the Balloon Boy, I think of his scheming parents who cooked up the whole cockamamie plan. I never really thought of how Balloon Boy threw up on TV every time he had to lie and how that would affect him as an adult.

Regan is sometimes overshadowed by his past work: "You too," "Take luck," and pluralizing the word "ox." With All By Myself he continues to push forward with consistently hilarious work that will no doubt be added to bits that are shouted out by audience members in the future (like when an audience member requests his "Manslaughter" bit, which Regan mis-hears as "Vampires"). All I can do is wish him godspeed. And yes, I can imagine him going that fast.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Robert Buscemi's "Palpable"


Robert Buscemi has such an original voice, it took me a track or two to find his groove and settle into it. That's not a bad thing, though. It's a good kind of different. The first time I listened to his new CD Palpable, it reminded me of the first time I listened to Steven Wright's I Have A Pony. It was, in a word, refreshing. In a year already teeming with solid releases from the comedy genre, Palpable manages to stand out mostly due to Buscemi's original approach.

Buscemi is a master at painting a mental picture. Whether he's talking about his recumbent bike - and the outfit and accessories that go along with it - or reciting the physical attributes of his past loves, Buscemi's details are so complete there's no doubt he has everyone on exactly the same page. He is a skilled linguist and, to put it bluntly, random to the extreme. I have no idea how Buscemi came up with the idea of posting a personal ad in American Historical Re-Enactment Monthly magazine...but after he recites his submission, I'm glad he did.

You'd think it couldn't get any more random than a Leper Pit For Charity but we are then seamlessly taken to Combing Day, a festive celebration of grooming Buscemi's back hair.

You read that right.

Not only was I laughing at the image of back hair woven with beads clacking against each other, I was also extremely impressed with the fact that Buscemi had managed to seamlessly transition from lepers to back hair combing.

From there, the random ideas only get better and better. And by "better and better" I mean more and more random. And by "more and more random," I mean hilariouser and hilariouser.
  • Germans pronouncing the phrase "puppet theater."
  • An examination of Grateful Dead parking lot economics.
  • Retroactive bastardization.
  • Donating your body to Home Ec class because you hated science
  • Rabid weasels scream-reading at hearing-impaired infants
  • Using candy to break up with your boyfriend Russell

It's like a bucket list of comedy topics I never knew was out there. Fortunately, Robert Buscemi did.

***

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Top 10 of 2010: Sneak Preview

Well, it's getting close to that time of year when I roll out my picks for the ten best comedy albums of the year. In preparation, I've made myself a list of the albums I want to go back and re-listen to before I make my final decision. Here's a shot of that list in the order I added them to my iTunes library (click on the image for a larger view):

And yes, I realize Juston McKinney's album isn't called A Middle Close Hole and Joe DeRosa's last name is spelled incorrectly. That's just what tends to happen when I get near the end of the page.

As I prepare to entomb myself in my carefully-constructed isolation chamber (otherwise known as plugging in my headphones) I'm curious to hear your thoughts on the year's best. Don't worry, they won't sway my picks. I'll be posting one more review next week before I reveal the big list, so stay tuned. Of course, if there are any that aren't on the list you feel I should give a listen to, leave that in the comments as well.

In the meantime, why not visit your music-purchasing purveyor of choice and pick up a few. Your sense of humor will thank you.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dane Cook's "I Did My Best - Greatest Hits"


Allow me to start off this post by telling you I'm a fan of Dane Cook. Always have been. A few years ago, when Dane started gaining some crazy notoriety the inevitable happened: backlash. Huge backlash. Angry, angry backlash. So if you're one of those people who hate Cook's comedy with a passion equal only to that of the earth's magma core, well...you're not gonna agree with this review.

I Did My Best - Greatest Hits truly is a collection of some of Cook's greatest bits. The project spans all of his previous albums and at times it's a bit jarring to hear the difference in sound from an intimate club setting to his show at Madison Square Gardens. Of course, the classics are here: "Not So Kool-Aid" and "Heist/Monkey" still crack me up just as much as the first time I heard them.

This collection really shows off Dane's love of the English language, his mastery of inflection, and his manic energy that only comes when you're doing something you truly love to do. Dane isn't just a comedian, he's a storyteller extraordinaire. Like David Cross or Bill  Cosby, the humor isn't found in the one-two setup/punch combination but in the process of pointing out every nuance of every detail along the way.

Sure, there are some tracks I had hoped would be included (I'm still a fan of his Tarantino-esque story-out-of-sequence magic he pulled in "The Wall," his Walgreen's escapade he talks about on Retaliation) but considering this project weighs in with an impressive 38 tracks - five of which are previously unreleased bits - I can't really complain.

If you're a fan of Cook's, then this is a nice way to re-visit some of your favorites. If you're not familiar with his work as a stand-up, this is a great place to start. And if you think Dane Cook is the worst thing to happen to the world of comedy, I probably haven't changed your mind, and now you hate me too.

I did my best.

***

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Jon Lajoie's "I Kill People"


Jon Lajoie is back with a new collection of music that is sure to illicit more than a few laughs. Allow me to clarify: It's a new collection, but not a collection of new songs, as most of the tracks have been available on Lajoie's YouTube channel for some time now.

iTunes seems to be flooded with musical comedians but most of them are  hardly more than smirk-inducing on the first listen.  This is not the case with Lajoie. For starters, the production value is much better than most of the overnight silly songs that crop up. True, LaJoie isn't going to be winning any awards for his vocal prowess, but he's too busy cleverly skewering rap, pop music, and rock ballads to let that stop him.

Lajoie kicks off I Kill People with the title track, an intentionally-stunted gangster rap complete with a 1983 Casio keyboard beat. At first it seems to be just another rapper bragging about how great he is until you realize...well...maybe he's not the greatest.

"My lyrics are like the movie The Shawshank Redemption.....they're really good."

He's like the Ben Stiller of comedic rap. He excels at portraying the over-confident guy who can't really live up to his own self-created hype.

There are your few standard penis, masturbation, and ill-fated love songs that just lay limp - pun intended -  ("Listening To My Penis," "Alone in the Universe," "In Different Ways") but Lajoie really soars when he gets a chance to show off his various characters. And when his characters bump into each other on the same track, there are hilarious results. "WTF Collective" (and its sequel a few tracks later) introduces us to rappers like MC Insecure, MC Amnesia, The Chorus Guy, MC Doesn't Know What Irony Is, MC Gets Sidetracked Easily, and my two personal favorites: MC Lethal Weapon 1 2 & 3 and MC Lethal Weapon 4.

Lajoie is at his best when he goes at a subject full-force. "Michael Jackson is Dead" is an angry rap aimed at those who criticized MJ and suddenly became fans after his death. The genius of this song lies in the fact that the more the rapper defends The Gloved One, the more Michael comes out looking not-so-good.

"Mel Gibson's Love Song" is one of those songs that I probably shouldn't have laughed at as much as I did ("I love you...that's why I punched you in the face") and "Radio Friendly Song" is a nice companion to a song from his previous album, "Pop Song." I freely admit that it's probably my brief experience in the music business machine that makes me love these songs that call out the music industry.

All in all, "I Kill People" is a solid comedy album. Sure, not every track is a home run, but neither is every cut on Eminem's new project. But at least Lajoie is funny on purpose.

***

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bo Burnham's "Words, Words, Words"


Musical comedian Bo Burnham's latest project, Words Words Words starts off with two studio tracks and then goes into a live set where Burnham is proud to offer what is most likely the smartest bunch of dirty jokes you'll ever hear, all set to a catchy beat. Sure, you need a thesaurus, a serious love of homonyms and puns, and the cliff notes to the complete works of Shakespeare to catch all of the jokes that are flying by but that's part of the fun. Burnham brings his white boy rap at full speed and that half-second between the point where you hear a line and when your brain actually registers what you just heard is part of the fun. Upon listening a second, third, and even fourth time, you're pretty much guaranteed to pick up new jokes where innocent statements once appeared to be.

"I'm a feminine Eminem, a slim shady lady but nice 'cuz I texted Haiti,

Ninety lady cops in the road and I'm arrested for doin' 80."


I still haven't decided which I prefer, the studio or live tracks. One on hand I enjoy hearing the crowd respond to Burnham as he pounds away on the piano yet at the same time I like the full studio sound where the songs are complete with beats, orchestration, and sound effects.

To break down each song indiviually would almost be pointless since Burnham's songs are pretty much all different approaches to the whole "I'm an amazing rapper and here are some examples of why I'm the best" routine. But when you're as clever a wordsmith as Burnham is, that's totally allowed.

Musically, I'm looking forward to seeing Burnham grow and stretch a bit. The live tracks reveal how similar most of his songs are. It's as if he's playing the same chords and what really differentiates them from one another are the words he's saying. Often times when he gets to a big joke in a song it seems he's so excited to hit the punchline that his fingers betray him and his enthusiasm results in some ear-splitting wrong notes.

We've all experiemented with writing our own Haikus, but in the age of Twitter where we're restrained to expressing our thoughts with a limited amount of characters, Burnham seems born to say a lot in only seventeen syllables.

"Even if he is

Your friend never ever call
An Asian person"


You may cringe, you may check to see who's in the room next to you, you may not want to, but Burnham will make you laugh. To paraphrase a line from the title track, "Words Words Words" is like having sex with a fat lady in an elevator. It's wrong on so many levels.

***

Monday, November 15, 2010

Keith Alberstadt's "It's Pronounced 'Jenkins'"


Keith Alberstadt is a funny guy.

And on his new CD It's Pronounced 'Jenkins', Alberstadt has a cool confidence in his own humor that ensures the listener they are in safe hands. It's not a cocky confidence and it doesn't come across as condescending. It's simply a confidence that says, "Hey, I know these stories are funny. Check 'em out."

It doesn't take long before Alberstadt addresses his less-then-usual name. But instead of dwelling on the many pronunciations of his Germanic surname, he instead points out the absurdity in the fact that he's also had problems with his first name, too. Hence the appearance of "KIF" on his coffee order at Starbucks.

Some of Alberstadt's premises initially play as somewhat standard. Ok, I know where he's going I thought to myself a few times, but then Alberstadt surprises you. It's not that he takes a hard left and turns the bit on its ear into something preposterous...but he instead goes down a side street that twists and winds and invites you to look at something you've seen before from a different perspective. We've all heard comics talk about parents who get flustered and call their kids by the wrong name, but Alberstadt adds his fresh point of view that ends up including the dog. And someone named Pablo.

Whether it's giving a girlfriend a hard time for mis-pronouncing the word "love" or saying the name Clifton sarcastically, Alberstadt has a real gift for sound, inflection, and gibberish punctuation at the end of sentences. Alberstadt is careful not to overuse this skill, so it never becomes tiresome. He's patient and relaxed and isn't rushing himself to get to the punch. It's his mastery of the pause (especially as he prepares to tell you what a dog is really thinking) that lets you know he's in control. He's got this.

There's a nice ebb and flow to Alberstadt's material. It's not full-throttle gut-busting laughs all the way through, but it's not supposed to be. He gives you a breather with a story that elicits a smirk, a goofy observation that makes you smile and shake your head, and then smoothly slips into the story of why he put his shoes in the refrigerator four times.

"John Adams" is a track that asks the question "If texting was around when John Adams was alive, would it change the way he wrote?" It eerily reminded me of Greg Giraldo's bit about Civil War letters (even the voice Alberstadt uses to read the texts sounds a lot like Giraldo's Civil War-reading voice) but that short premise leads into two great tracks on texting and phone etiquette.

"It's a law now in almost every state: can't text while you're driving. Seventy-five percent of Americans agree with those laws. Twenty-five percent said "WTF', then hit a guard rail."

The CD ends with four tracks recorded while Alberstadt was overseas performing for the troops. No matter where he was - Qatar, Iraq, or the USS Harry S Truman -  the troops are eating it up. It's cool to hear how various parts of the same bit hit each audience differently.

'It's Pronounced 'Jenkins' is a solid project from a comedian who's got it all under control. Just sit back and let someone else drive for a bit. And when it's over, check the fridge for your shoes.

***

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

James Fritz's "Deflated"


The name of the new comedy album from James Fritz is "Deflated." I'd never heard of Fritz or this project, but I thought I'd give it a shot. "Deflated" is a very apt title, mostly because that's exactly how I felt after listening to these 15 tracks. And not in a good way.

The album begins with Fritz's manic screaming and doesn't stop. I think he's meant to come across as a Lewis Black sort of angry, but the difference is Lewis Black is funny when he's angry. Fritz, with his lispy sssssscreamsssss sounds more like a contestant on [insert any reality show on the Bravo channel here] throwing a hissy fit.

"Deflated" was recorded live in Chicago in September. Despite the fact that it's literally just a couple of months old, the album features bits on topics as dated as Meatloaf's "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad", Ted Kennedy's death, and listening for hidden backward messages in -- that's right -- "Another One Bites the Dust." I'm not saying you can't talk about things in the past or experiences you've had in childhood...but Fritz talks about them as if they're trending topics and it just comes out awkward.

By the third track, Fritz has slipped out of his manic yelling persona and morphed into a whiny guy. I don't think this was intentional, as the yelling begins again a few tracks later when he tries to prove what a wild and crazy guy he is by telling a story about the time he got thrown out of Chuck E Cheese. It doesn't sound like they went back in and padded the laughter but there are a couple of moments where they probably should have. You can almost feel how exhausted the audience is and more than once they have all but given up on even offering up polite chuckles. They're just not interested anymore. Fortunately, Fritz steps in to laugh at his own jokes. I guess if no one else is going to, why not, right?

The biggest laughter on the album comes on Track 13, where he tells a somewhat confusing story about a bag of pasta. I'm wondering if there wasn't a physical movement that didn't translate audibly, because I wasn't sure why the audience erupted into a huge roar of guffaws. I sat here, confused, and I believe my exact words were, "Really?"

Unfortunately, Fritz miscalculates his own timing and drones on for two more tracks, never again coming anywhere close to that level of reaction from the audience. His obligatory "dirty" joke that ends the album falls flat, and when he leaves the stage, I could picture the crowd looking at each other and saying, "That was it?"

It's always  a gamble buying an album when you're not familiar with the comedian or their material. Sometimes you hit paydirt..and sometimes you just end up Deflated.

***
Deflated is available from The Red Bard Comedy Record Label

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Joe DeRosa's "The Depression Auction"


Joe DeRosa isn't what  you would call an "angry comedian," but he is a little disgruntled. And fortunately for fans of comedy, he's one of those guys who gets funnier as he gets more and more irritated. He isn't mad at the entire world, just at the things that really get to him: Bad television (those anti-smoking "truth" ads), Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" and even himself (he's given up alcohol, but don't call him inspiring).

DeRosa isn't ranting about nonsense here. He has a legitimate beef with things we've all had enough of: Grooms who wear top hats, people who claim identity theft, and those moms who try too hard to prove they're still hot.

Derosa packs so much comedy into The Depression Auction (my iTunes tells me it has a running time of 1.1 hours!), you almost forget all of the gems that are hidden inside. For example, Track 4 is simply called "I Got Rid of Cable". I refer to it as "The One with the Stone Mason Reality Show, The Cancellation of the Pie Makers Show, the Womens Entertainment Network, and The Bridezillas Get What's Coming To Them."

As easy as it can be to point the finger at others, DeRosa doesn't hesitate to point out his own shortcomings and flaws with the same "screw you" energy. Whether he's mad at himself for smoking, explaining why he would never make a good president, or admitting he commits 100% to an argument, even when he realizes he's wrong, DeRosa points out that we've all had moments of calling ourselves an idiot and it's going to happen again. Bring it.

The album wraps up with a special bonus track which dissects his encounter with some hecklers. DeRosa breaks in now and then to narrate not only what is happening in the club but also in his mind during the incident, and the listener can't help being drawn in on the action as it unravels. It's a bonus track that actually feels like an added bonus. When DeRosa explains to the crowd he is recording an album, he teeters precariously into entering an Orny Adams sense of I Deserve This, but the difference is DeRosa just made me laugh - and I mean laugh - for a straight hour, and he really does deserve it. Shut up, lady. There's funny goin' on here.

***