The new release from Lee Camp, Chaos For The Weary, is stand-up done right. Although it opens up with an introduction and stamp of approval from Kelly Carlin comparing Camp to her legendary father George, Camp is his own voice with a unique approach to the craft.
He begins the album with a passionate rant about people over 50 ("In the big bag of trail mix, they ate the peanuts and the M&Ms and left us with f***in' raisins") and he doesn't let up. Camp is angry, he's frustrated, and he's got a lot on his mind, but he says it all with a smile in his voice that lets you know he hasn't lost all hope. Although things in the world seem to be spiraling out of control, they're still kinda funny.
Like a well-seasoned boxer, Camp has learned that when you're in the ring, it's all about pacing. Each of the tracks on Chaos begins with a simple one-liner that comes from left field and tags the audience on the chin. It's not a knock-out punch, but it packs enough of a wallop to let us know he's running the show. It's fast and comes from nowhere and while the audience is staggering with laughter, Camp jumps in with a flurry of body blows as his delivery becomes more passionate, louder, and nearing manic levels. The pace becomes quicker, sentences run together, and the only break we get from the onslaught of funny is the quarter-second it takes Camp to take a breath. Camp is light on his feet, smoothly transitioning from Radio Shack - and wondering why it's still in business - to Facebook to vintage T-shirts to Hallmark cards all within one hilarious minute. And then, just as you're about to feel your feet collapse from beneath you, the bell rings and it's back to your corner.
And then it starts over again. One-liner, laughter, BAM! jokesjokesjokesjokesjokesjokes, pause....one-liner, POW! funnyfunnyfunnyfunnyfunny. On and on, Camp has it all timed out perfectly. He knows just how long to go before he brings us down, letting us compose ourselves, before he starts in again. His comedy is like the inverse-bell curve chart Sean T uses on the infomercials for the Insanity workout program: 4 minutes intervals of intense comin-right-at-ya 100% comedy followed by a short rest period, and then....off we go for round 2.
Camp covers the gamut and is just as funny talking about the mundane (questioning the necessity of the rubber grips on a toothbrush handle) as he is when he tackles bigger issues (how he would protest if he were 80 and not allowed to pull the plug on his life support).
Unlike a championship fight, however, the action doesn't slow down as we approach the final round. There's no lumbering around, no excessive leaning on the ropes. Camp is just as on fire throughout the 15th track as he was in the first. If I didn't know any better, I'd think his corner man had spiked the water bottle with Red Bull and espresso shots.
Chaos is 57 minutes of comedy at its finest. When you see a good boxer in the ring, you see there's more to it than just hitting someone else. It's called The Sweet Science for a reason. Likewise, Camp proves there is much more to comedy than knock-knock jokes and tiptoeing around hecklers. Listening to Chaos makes you realize there is a process to it, a thought-out approach, and Camp elevates making people laugh to his own sweet science. Loud, angry, furious science.