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

16 comments:

  1. You sir are entitled to your opinion which I think stinks by that I mean that you are not a very nice man.

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  2. This review just shows just how poor of a writer, and even more so a poor reviewer you really are. You seem to be more concerned about "clever" ad hominem attacks on the comedian himself rather than the quality of the comedy. The album displayed a lot of subtle humor you seemed to miss, which wouldn't surprise me considering your less than juvenile capacity for reviewing comedy. Reevaluate your technique of reviewing and get your head out of your ass. A comedy album offered something different and your confused little head couldn't handle it. It's on the front page of iTunes comedy for a reason, maybe your ear isn't for comedy at all.

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  3. This is complete bullshit. First of all, what's not funny about yelling at a crowd to go "fuck your summer?" Secondly, are you complaining about James referencing "Another One Bites the Dust?" its a classic song and people can relate to it because they've heard it. its ironic that the church doesn't like the song because it may or may not say "smoke marijuana" if you play it backwards when freddy mercury is practically the most archetypal gay man of the 70s. thats like saying a joke referring to "hey Jude" would be bad because its 40 years old and not a "trending topic" and "dated" even though it's the most famous song of all time. people have heard the song so they'll get the joke. Lastly, this is why comedy can't be reviewed. you can't base the success of a joke on whether or not you laugh. comedy is too basic for that. Movies and music can because there are a lot more complex. would you review a lecture of one of your professors? no, because if you don't get what he's saying yet the whole class still understands or in this case laughs, then that just just means you're dumb and don't get the material.

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  4. Before i even critique your poor review, let me critique your poor website.

    Get a real domain and a website with some appeal, the site is depressing.

    I can't take you seriously when your first post is about how you shouldn't be reviewing comedy albums. On top of that, you're listening while you unpack and get settled in. How can you be paying attention to the comedian while your wife is nagging you about where to hang up the family portrait?

    I listened to the album and found it hilarious. The audience found the pasta bit funny because they were paying attention. Sorry you can't follow a story. That's why you shouldn't be writing reviews, because you're not paying attention.

    Start a blog about your move, maybe people will give you more credibility.

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  5. Your comment made me smile. Fortunately, I was able to sit down and listen to the album twice, straight through and with no distractions, making sure to pause between tracks to take notes the second time through. The move went fine. I'll drop you a line when I blog the details.

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  6. Everyone can agree we all laugh at different things. However, some of your views seem to be simply because you missed the boat, particularly referring to the Queen reference as not being topical.

    Fritz brings up "Another One Bites the Dust" being played backwards and the church leaders suggesting it says "Learn to smoke marijuana". First of all, it's a classic song that everyone knows. But the real point is when Fritz points out the irony that the Southern Baptist people weren't concerned that the song's by a band called "Queen" and fronted by one of the most flamboyantly gay men of the 70s (as noted before), but that he'd try to sell him drugs in the park.

    This ties into Fritz's liberal pro-health care (referring to Kennedy because he fronted the Senate for universal health care), and pro-gay rights topics. I don't know if you're much into things like "reading" or "the news", but there's a grassroots movement in this country called the Tea Party--composed, primarily, by Evangelical Christians and anti-gay, anti-health care conservatives. There was recently a national election where a couple Tea Party candidates were voted into office, and the Democrats lost the House of Representatives, which--in my opinion--makes Fritz's points very topical.

    I guess I can chalk it up to we all like different things, but I'll leave with this: I've often said this about Jame's Fritz's comedy--you'll only get it if you know... THINGS.

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  7. Should have stopped reading once you said Lewis Black is funny, stop taking chances on alternative comedy and stick to Brian Regan and Jeff Dunham.

    I bet you feel like an asshole now that all of your comments disagree with you.
    "comedy nerd" ? your a humorous pariah

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  8. Ha ha ha ha ha. Nah, I don't mind if people disagree. But it makes for some great reading!

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  9. Good review this homesless guy should go back to Kentucky

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  10. First off, I thought it was a pretty good CD myself. But I'm interested in the extent to which all of the bashing of the reviewer, his site, and his review will have a chilling effect on subsequent reviews--even negative ones. That would be, in the long term, unfortunate. I mean, It makes plenty of sense to rise to the defense of a friend and his new piece of art, especially when it's being assailed by an outlet that is not terribly authoritative, insightful, or impressive. But the more plentiful and broad is a critical dialogue about comedy (or any art, really) the better. So I'd hope that Fritz's friends go easier on this guy who wrote the review.

    Also, the guy who wrote the review should eat a bag of dicks. But not choke on them.

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  11. Fuck you Eplacencia!!! Fritz is awsome.

    If u don't like his cd go fuck yourself.

    P.s. Get aids and die!!!

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  12. You should review the Comedians You Should Know album next. Here's on iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/comedians-you-should-know/id414055836

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  13. Thanks for the heads up, sacc91. I'll check it out!

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  14. Aaaaaaaaand here ya go: http://comedyreviews.wordpress.com/2011/02/09/comedians-you-should-know/

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