The new CD from Daryl Wright, Wildly Inappropriate, is one of those treasures you hope you'll discover every time you listen to a comedian with whom you're not familiar. I went into this one not knowing what to expect and I came away from it feeling like I opened a bottle of Coke and found a "YOU JUST WON $1000!" message hidden under the cap.
Wright is down-to-earth, approachable, and possibly the funniest ex-con you'll come across (besides my uncles, of course). He explains that he spent time behind bars for "shooting a crackhead" and he uses the fact that eight years have passed and he's still not sorry for it as the perfect metaphor for why white guilt should be a thing of the past.
At that moment you get your first glimpse of Wright's unique viewpoint on topics that until now may have lost their freshness. His approach is novel and clever, especially when he explains that class-ism has replaced racism. He uses as Exhibit A the fact that O.J. is in jail. He's not there because he's black but because he is poor. After all, when he was rich he was free to "run around killing perfectly good white women."
On paper, this project has a lot working against it. It's apparent there wasn't a massive budget backing it (the recording quality leaves a little to be desired, the packaging itself is fairly generic, and the "RIP Mike Destephano" in the liner notes suggests someone fell asleep behind the proofreading wheel) but when you're as funny as Wright is, the comedy transcends all of the technical shortcomings and takes center stage. In past reviews I've complained about the production quality of a project but this time around I really can't. When you're funny, you're funny, and Wright's material is much stronger and more powerful than any audio glitches. Only a few minutes into listening, any comments I may have had about the production value lost any and all merit.
Wrights riffs on a lot of things people may think about but are too afraid to say out loud: How America has become the ex-husband of the world ("We keep giving people money and they keep talking shit about us. The next time you have a flood, call someone else") and just why rappers who refuse to use the n-word don't make any sense (the country music tie-in on this one is brilliant).
You're not dealing with your standard comedian-next-door here, but that's not a bad thing. Because of his checkered past going to court for biting an officer of the law and being kicked off of BET (twice), Wright has some outrageously unique experiences to draw from and never before has a stolen stove been so funny.
The album ends with Wright recounting the tale of the time he did stand-up for the KKK. Actually, he tells you that story as a preface to the time he wore a confederate flag T-shirt on the beach. I won't spoil anything by going into it further but that track alone is worth the price of admission. The first and last tracks, throwaway remixes of Wright's comedy, can be skipped over. They don't really add anything to the proceedings and aren't nearly as good as the great comedy found here.
This album is a perfect example of comedy being able to conquer all. Wright proves you don't need to have a big budget, or major label representation to make people laugh. In the end, all that really matters is whether or not you're funny. Wright is. And if you ask me, that's wildly appropriate.