Monday, August 15, 2011

Dan Levy's "Congrats On Your Success"ads1

On his new album Congrats On Your Success , Dan Levy wastes no time in getting straight to the point. There are some things that need to be discussed and some people who need to be taken down a peg or two and doggonit, Dan Levy is the man for the job. He starts in with his terrible cell phone service provider (Levy has T-Mobile because Verizon is too expensive and Sprint ... well ... come on ...he's not homeless) and he continues down the line in rapid-fire succession. No one is safe (including his wife) and no punches are pulled, even when Levy shifts his focus onto himself.

That's one of the reasons Levy gets away with his point-blank attacks so easily; he's not dressed in full combat attire, running around firing an automatic weapon into a crowd of innocent citizens. Levy takes special care to remind us he's just as vulnerable. If nothing else, he's running naked through the streets tossing hand grenades into the air like a chaotic Easter Bunny in a very twisted alternate universe. The fact that he comes away unscathed only proves he's done this before, and he's got some skills.

It takes a guy with real juevos to name one of the tracks on his CD "My Wife Is Not A Bitch" and then proceed to explain why she is (or, more accurately, why she can be seen as bitch-y). Of course, it helps that he counters that with the admission that she is way out of his league. She's hot. He's a "Jewish troll." As he explains people's reactions when they realize who his wife is married to, he's performed a slick sleight-of-hand: By taking a bit that started off poking at his wife and eventually making himself the butt of the joke, he's made us feel comfortable to laugh, regardless of who he goes after, because we know in the end Levy is going to end up looking the worst. It's self-deprecation without feeling like self-deprecation and it's something Levy works well. This guy is good. He's plotted this out Ocean's 11-style, and Terry Benedict is about to get taken again.

Like many skilled comedians, Levy thrives when he finds himself painted in a corner with no obvious escape route. Whether he's dealing with a stripper who's drawn a line for what may very well be the wrong reason, trying to pick up a nurse at an STD clinic, or coping with a roommate who accidentally ate his doctor-prescribed pot cookies, Levy always knows which reaction will garner the most laughs. Sometimes he reacts with a condescending "Really? Are you serious?" approach and sometimes he can't do anything but laugh and throw fuel onto the fire. Regardless of how he decides to react to the situation, the audience can be assured it will be funny.

The album's title track is a particular highlight as Levy relays the time he met an international pop superstar at a shoe store. Not only does Levy paint the perfect example of why he shouldn't be allowed to interact with celebrities, he also brings us a fun impression to share with your friends. More than likely, if someone compliments you on your footwear in the near future, you'll find yourself acknowledging their compliment with a high-pitched, soft-spoken, "Oh dawg, they're my 'whatever whatever' shoes."

Levy closes out the album with a great story about his same-named doppelgänger who has incurred the wrath of Twilight fans everywhere. It's a strong ending to a solid, consistent piece of work that deserves a listen. Dan Levy, job well done.

And, of course, congrats on your success.


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