Friday, March 8, 2013

Mitch Fatel's "Public Display of Perversion"



I’m generally not a fan of Gilbert Gottfried’s stand-up comedy, but I do get a kick out of his tweets. His voice makes me cringe; his quips of 140 characters or less make me smile. I can’t stand watching - or listening, actually - to Bobcat Goldthwait, but I have a real appreciation for his work behind the camera. Call me crazy, but it takes more than a growled “Arrrrrarrrrrgggghah!” to make me laugh. 

Which brings me to Mitch Fatel and his new CD, “Public Display of Perversion.” His onstage persona is a mixture of Gottfried and Goldthwait but one who has suffered a traumatic brain injury. And not in a good way. I’ve seen a few clips of Fatel’s man-on-the-street pieces from “The Tonight Show” and I found them entertaining. Why he chooses to do stand-up in a slow, mumbling, giggling delivery that makes you wonder if he’s retarded (I’m not the first to question this. Do a Google search for “Is Mitch Fatel...” and see if “retarded” isn’t the first word you’re offered to complete the sentence)...I just don't get it. He's a chore to listen to and his weird, creeper-style whisper he overuses throughout his time on stage doesn’t make things any more tolerable.

While I was growing up in a suburban Indiana cul de sac, there was a kid in the neighborhood whom we all thought was hilarious because he would say dirty words. He would say “dick” and we would all snicker and look over our shoulders to make sure there were no adults within earshot. There was no punchline to make us laugh, but when you’re nine years old, you don’t need one. We would have lost our minds if we had heard Fatel’s CD, but I’m no longer nine years old and it will take more than someone whispering “I love breasts” over and over again to make me crack a smile.

To Fatel, though, this approach is comedy gold and pretty much the basis upon which his 50-minute CD is built. He says something, repeats it in a low whisper, and then waits for the laughs to roll in (“I love breasts. Oh yes. I love breastsssssss”). If you love hearing someone weirdly whisper that he loves breasts or loves women or loves vaginas, followed by a nervous giggle, then this is the album for you.

One thing I found particularly irritating was Fatel’s apparent lack of self-awareness. He continuously brags about being famous, being a big-time comedian, and what it’s like to get recognized everywhere he goes (Really?). Fatel caps nearly every track with a whisper/giggle, muttering phrases like “I’m so funny,” “I’m so talented,” and “I’m hysterical” and it took every bit of self-control to refrain from screaming, “No you’re not!!” 

I spoke to a friend about this project and he said it best: "Another hour of Mitch Fatel whispering about vaginas." Finally, something about this CD that made me laugh.



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