Friday, November 2, 2012

Josh Denny's "Social Hand Grenades"



Dear Ladies:

It’s time to step it up. The last time a woman has done anything substantial, it was Amelia Earhart and, if you want to stop seeing movies about her, please do something else to make yourselves seem useful.

Love, 

Josh Denny

That’s not an actual letter written by Denny, but based on a bit that appears on his new album “Social Hand Grenades” it wouldn't surprise me. If you find that kind of humor offensive or unfunny or uncalled for or highly misogynistic or definitely not something that should be laughed at, then I highly advise you move on to the next review. If, however, political correctness hasn’t stolen your soul and robbed you of a sense of humor, then stick around. You’re in for a good time.

In the spirit of comics like Doug Stanhope and George Carlin, Denny revels in seeing how far over the line he can go. He doesn’t just cross the line, though, he plays with it. He pushes it, moves it, and whips it around his head as he gleefully touches on topics like race, rape, and slavery.

I couldn’t help but think of those guys in the orange vests you see at football games moving the chains back and forth to indicate the line of scrimmage. Just as they go up and down the field, forward and back, changing where the line is, Denny does the same thing. If you thought the aforementioned topics were things you would never laugh at or should be joked about, Denny is about to open your eyes to a brand new you. As he pushes the boundaries (starting off his show by calling his mother an asshole for only offering 1-ply toilet paper in the guest bathroom), you soon realize that there is funny to be found in the most taboo of topics as long as it’s done right. 

Denny does it right.

There is a nice blend of truth-in-comedy and delivery that Denny employs. Yes, there are certain stereotypes about black people we’ve all heard, but Denny comes at them from a different direction, correcting them where they need corrected and creating all new ones to ponder. As he explains why a date shouldn’t include a hike in the woods, it's true he’s making some outrageous statements, but  at the same time he put me in mind of Charlie from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” He also comes up with some jacked up theories but you don’t get mad at him; you just laugh. Denny knows how wrong he is and assumes that since this is a comedy show, you won’t take him too seriously. Jokes is jokes, folks.

Don’t get me wrong, though. The album isn’t made up entirely of button-pushing material like his racist father, the similarities between homosexuality and pedophilia, and why black women never get abducted. There’s a great bit on weight loss and how you can lose 50 pounds and still be fat. Denny gives the “Live. Laugh. Love”-themed decor the treatment it deserves and there’s an amazing track on people who drop the G-bomb on redheads (For all of us of alternate hair coloring, please don’t refer to him as a “ginger.” It’s “gin-jah”).

The title of this album and the corresponding cover art couldn’t be more appropriate to Denny’s comedy. He’s got a social hand grenade between his teeth and the pin has been pulled. Don’t duck and cover, though, or turn and run. Just sit back and enjoy the explosion.



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