Monday, May 27, 2013

Al Madrigal's "Why Is The Rabbit Crying?"

Friendly and approachable, Al Madrigal makes it easy for one to settle in and enjoy an evening of comedy. Although his appearances on The Daily Show have helped make him a familiar face and name, his new CD Why Is The Rabbit Crying is devoid of any politically-leaning humor or satire. He’s just a regular guy (whose vocal similarity to Alan Alda never hit me until listening to this project) and you’re in safe hands as he opens the door and invites you into his home life.

The album runs over an hour long and much of his time is spent on his adventures with his kids. As it turns out, they’re a comedy gold mine. His young daughter, armed only with a sippy cup and an insistence to not leave the bathroom while dad is trying to get some alone time with the sports page, knows how to mentally slice and dice him in only four words (“Daddy’s got a ‘gina”). His son is a comedic genius in the making whose refusal to be embarrassed by his own wardrobe is commendable and whose threats to his father when he becomes elderly are impressively cutting. Madrigal is no chump, though, and he knows how to use his kids to his own advantage, particularly when he employs them to exact Halloween revenge on his neighbors without their even knowing they’ve become pawns in his ongoing next-door chess match.

Madrigal’s relationship with his wife is one of true teamwork and like any couple who’s been together for a while, they don’t mind giving each other a hard time. What’s cool to see is how they react in the face of danger and their marriage stands up to (and passes) the test. It’s simultaneously funny and heartwarming as they stand, hand in hand, communicating via Morse code/hand squeezes to not. Laugh. At the Cholo. With a snack list. It’s the perfect picture of a couple in total sync.

When Madrigal steps out of the confines of his home and family life, his stories stay just as funny. He hilariously recalls the time in college he had to talk the cleaning lady (Liam Neeson) down from an accidental mushroom high and explains the best way to anonymously tell someone to lick your ass. He struggles to understand why someone chose to go with the “crying banana” metaphor and there’s nothing quite like the image of gang members huddled around - and beholding the wonder of - a tree frog.

The phrase “there’s something for everyone” may be a bit cliche, but with this CD it’s a cliche that’s true. Everything is here, from racist Golden Corral commercials to deciding on which option for a massage is the best (there are only three choices and they all have a downside). Madrigal covers it all and no one gets hurt along the way. Except for the cholo-adjacent and those with the wifi password “att&t.” But they kinda had it coming.

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