Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Pete Holmes's "Impregnated with Wonder"

I couldn't be happier to report that my first review of 2012 is Pete Holmes's Impregnated With Wonder. Through no one's fault but my own I'm a couple of months late on this review (I could explain why my posts have dropped off over the last couple of weeks but you're not here to listen to me ramble on about myself...although that hasn't stopped me before). If you're looking to start your new year off with nothing less than some straight-up genuine laughter, then this album is a great place to start.

If I had to sum up in one word the overall feel of this CD, it would be joy. It's infused in every aspect. I feel it, the crowd feels it, and Holmes feels it too. When there's so much joy put into a work, it's apparent. You walk away feeling better for having listened. Holmes's comedy comes from a place of absolute purity. There's not a mean-spirited bone in his body and even when he works himself into an excited frenzy it's done with a smile. Trust me on this one. You're gonna have a blast.

Most of the laughs found here come from an observational comic's point of view but instead of finding something interesting and merely pointing out what's interesting about it, Holmes takes a much more tactile approach. He points it out, picks it up, feels it, smells it, squeezes it, and tosses it in the air. It's observational comedy on a sugar rush.

Ninjas are cool until you see them through the eyes of Holmes. Then, they're just Asian burglars. Eating at Subway has become the hip, healthy alternative to eating fast food but after Holmes points out that you can see your reflection in the wet ham, you may walk away with a more realistic outlook of this sandwich chain. As Holmes puts it, "You shouldn't be able to watch someone make something so disgusting."

Holmes has a real knack for finding the laughter in truth. Early on in the project he gets a big response from the crowd and follows it up with a simple, "Yeah...funny joke. Valid point." Never before has someone's approach to comedy been encapsulated so precisely and yet so succinctly. It could never be said that he doesn't have his finger on the pulse of his own style.

Funny joke. Valid point.

This approach is used to beautiful perfection throughout Holmes's set. At one moment he's pulling back the curtain on the romanticizing of being a kid. The next, he's explaining why he thinks Facebook was made by the government in an attempt to make privacy uncool (here are photos of all of my friends...and hey, let me tag those for ya).

Holmes maintains his high level of funny whether he's being goofy (his impression of a guy asking his friend Pierce to get beers for a party -- and the audience member who is included in the fun -- will have you rolling), being random (have you taken a moment today to be glad you're not a magician?), or being oddly philosophical (you can achieve a special level of happiness by simply lowering what you will pat yourself on the back for).

The bit that makes me want to buy this album and pass it out to every chucklehead running around who thinks he's The Next Great Undiscovered Comedian is when Holmes lists the "jokes" we've all heard a million times that desperately need to be retired. We've all been guilty of committing at least one of the crimes against humor he mentions, but now that he has taken the time to point them out, hopefully he's done his part to rid the world forever of these comedic atrocities.

And when that joyous day arrives, I think it's safe to say we'll all be impregnated with wonder.

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