On his new album, Tiny Wiener, Johnny Beehner shares a few stories about his childhood and how he was laughed at, mostly because his last name is ripe for adolescent rhymes (and also because of a most unfortunate Halloween costume choice. Thanks, Mom). Over the last week, I've found myself laughing at Johnny Beehner as well. Out loud. A lot. Not because of his I-Know-How-It-Sounds,-Mexicans moniker, but because Johnny Beehner is nothing short of hilarious.
Ever since Louis C.K. came out with his album "Hilarious" - and bit - by the same name, I've become very aware of how often I use that word. People tend to overuse it, often times in situations totally devoid of humor, and I've pretty much entirely removed it from my vernacular. In this case, though, the word more than deserves its triumphant return.
Johnny Beehner is hilarious.
Beehner's delivery is original; his authoritative and confident voice booms like an ad executive from Larry Tate's office and gives weight to his stories. Often times, though, what he's talking about is the complete polar opposite of board room professionalism. Imagine Don Draper in an important pitch meeting recounting a Taco Bell drive-thru prank or trying to cope with a hard-to-reach pimple and you'll have an idea of what's going on here.
I know I'm making a bold statement here, but I think it's safe to say there's something on this album - if not, a lot of things - that will have you - or anyone else who listens - laughing out loud. Whether it's the image of him playing T-Ball as a child, big batter's helmet askew on his head, and getting a walk or the description of his day on jury duty and what he did to keep himself occupied, our cat was freaked out by my constant outbursts of laughter. Speaking of cats, you won't want to miss Beehner's impression of the wake-up call he received from his pet feline. I've heard comedians talk about cats and hairballs before, but I've never heard anything quite like this, and I had to press pause on my iPod for a moment or two to recover. By the end of the bit, Beehner receives a very well-deserved applause break.
Beehner's relationship with his wife is also rich in comedic fodder as he spills the beans on her foot massage-getting technique and then explains why he would never be able to adapt the same approach. Disagreements in relationships are only natural and it's fun to hear the Beehners squabble over the little things just like the rest of us, such as choosing which movie to rent and playing the "What if" game that never ends well.
That being said, life outside the house isn't necessarily Beehner-proof, either. It's a lot of fun watching him struggle with friends who refuse to allow him to use his GPS and strangers he encounters in the most awkward of ways in an Olive Garden restroom (a restaurant, it should be noted, that Beehner likes a lot. I mean...he really, REALLY likes the Olive Garden a lot). When he takes a job as a substitute teacher, we aren't disappointed with the tales he has to tell outside of school.
All in all, there isn't anything Beehner encounters that he isn't able to wring big laughs from. His stories are sincerely funny and the way they are constructed is spot on. I'm sure when the kids on the playground were singing phrases like "Johnny Beehner has a tiny wiener," they couldn't imagine how they could possibly get more laughs out of this guy. They probably thought they were the funniest, most clever people on the planet. It may have taken a few years, but Johnny Beehner has proved otherwise. Oh, we're still laughing at him, but now it's on his own terms, and he's overthrown them all.
The playground has a new king.