Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Chad Daniels's "You're the Best"


The title of the new album from Chad Daniels, You're the Best, is derived from his response to a man who criticized his non pickle-eating habit at a Detroit airport. When the man spies Daniels removing the green slices from his sandwich, he brags that he just asks them to hold the pickles. Daniels's delivery as he responds to this unsolicited interjection with those three words is the perfect retort and just one of many examples why I loved this CD so much.

Daniels is the voice in your head you wish was there every time someone said or did something ridiculous and you found yourself with nothing to say. He's the Robin Hood of Reaction, doling out appropriately sarcastic replies to those who deserve it most: Kids, grumpy airplane passengers, and people who justify using the N-word by using other offensive phrases. Daniels puts them all into place so quickly (if only in his head) and with such ease you'll find yourself pausing and rewinding to catch what you missed while you were laughing so hard.

And yes, you are encouraged to laugh. Those who cover their mouths when they laugh will not be tolerated. Nor will "Meow-Brained" people.

As Daniels so wonderfully explains, there are two different types of people: Those with Clap Brains (they hear something funny, something they agree with, or something that clicks with them and their initial response is to applaud. Clap Brains are highly esteemed) and those with Meow Brains (those who, instead of reacting to a joke or one-liner positively, simply sit back and emit a smug, disapproving "mrah-mrah" noise like Edward G Robinson crossed with Garfield). Clap Brains are awesome. Meow Brains suck at life.

Meow-Brained people get what they have coming to them and none are safe. That includes pompous environmentalists who catch you at the store without your eco-friendly reusable bag, people with cleft palates who accuse others with the same affliction of mocking them, and Daniels's own racist grandmother.

This CD isn't all Daniels blasting one Meow Brain after another (although if it was, I wouldn't complain. You'll be hard-pressed to find someone funnier at saying what I wish I was clever enough to come up with on my own). He is just as entertaining when he shares tales of misfortune from his own household. Canoe partners who don't pull (or paddle) their own weight and trying to explain the birds and the bees to his son (and what women and lawn mowers have in common) are just a couple of glimpses into life with his wife and kids.

Being a dad naturally comes with the task of answering a multitude of queries, both reasonable and far-fetched, and I love his idea of setting aside some specified time each day for a family press conference where he can field questions about the mystery of refrigerator magnets. His daughter is an unintentional gold mine of material, especially when it comes to bedtime discoveries and being unable to pronounce the name of a certain female rapper.

The way Daniels tells a story is both engaging and laugh-inducing (he describes the scary section of the lower United States as "the part of the South where they end their sentences with "g'doo goo") and it doesn't get much better than when he relays the story of the time he nearly got arrested simply for wishing. Granted, I'm sure the officer didn't appreciate it when Daniels said he hoped the cop in question got AIDS (and not the good one Magic Johnson got) but holy crap did I laugh.

Going into this album, I was unfamiliar with Daniels and his work but after just a few minutes into it I was an instant fan. And the CD only gets better from there. He's an amazing comedian with a real sense of what's funny and a genuine knack for taking that something funny and making it even funnier. This is one you won't want to miss.

Chad Daniels, your CD title speaks the truth. You're the best.

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