It's probably a fairly obvious statement to say a good comedian is also a good writer. Of course they are. But by that same token, I feel writing is the facet of stand-up comedy that is most overlooked. A comic is often good because it feels like nothing has been written; it comes off like a conversation with the audience (granted, a very one-sided conversation) that has a natural flow to it and we forget that each line - often times each word - has been meticulously chosen for a very specific reason. Comics write in very different ways. Some, like Orny Adams in the movie Comedian, write out each and every joke on a piece of paper and keep it filed away. Others, like David Cross and Marc Maron, do a lot of their writing on the stage, an approach that simultaneously impresses and scares the crap out of me.
In his new project, Talks To Young People About Sex, Kurt Metzger proves beyond a shadow of a doubt he's an excellent writer (and comedian) by displaying all of the reasons above - and more. What especially stands out is his knack for simile and metaphor. Why simply talk about the pointlessness of bringing back the cast of "Jersey Shore" for another season when you could go with this: "There's something you don't recycle: guidos. You just throw them away. That's like saving your plastic cutlery."
Why go into a boring everyday description of the girl who took your virginity when you could instead explain why she was like your first bike. And...well, I won't ruin the punch of the oil rig story but suffice it to say he gets the job done.
One of my personal favorites is when Metzger compares a female friend who won't have sex with him to a male friend with a brand-new Playstation 3. "I wanna play with it really bad and he lets me. We're good friends! You see the simple beauty of that?!"
That's not to say it's all fancy-shmancy painting pictures with words. Metzger isn't afraid to set aside literary technique and just go straight at his target, similes be damned.
- On Jamaicans: "They really got their heads up their own asses."
- On Tiger Woods doing razor commercials: "I don't care what razor he uses to shave his baby-soft half-Asian face...I need a manly, sturdy razor like whatever Lady Gaga endorses."
- On "Jersey Shore": Metzger shares his family recipe for growing guidos. 'Nuff said.
Metzger also shines when he focuses his gaze on the everyday ridiculousness that until now has gone unnoticed: The Cash4Gold infomercials (Why do the people look so shocked to discover gold is worth money?), the fact that hot, sweltering Mexico is known for hot food instead of popsicles, the fact that women carry purses (there's more to this one, trust me), the Forrest Gump-theme Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant ("where all the servers are retarded"), and the hoopla around the 2012 Mayan-predicted apocalypse ("Why would they know the end of the world? They didn't have any pants").
Of course, it's not all finger-pointing here. Metzger often finds himself trying to cope with awkward situations that are the result of his own doing, whether he obliviously rates his girlfriend an 8 out of 10 or faces the unfortunate side effects of natural herbal hair loss remedies: "It doesn't use chemicals to make you grow hair. It uses natural herbs to make you shit your pants while you're sleeping."
The similes, the metaphors, the mundane, and the outrageous. Metzger tackles it all with the same intense fervor that guarantees laughs. "Guarantee" is a strong word, I know. Along the way you may blush, you may wince, you may even groan.
But yeah...you'll definitely laugh.