Considering the massive amount of great comedy by great comedians on this project (Two CDs! Forty-seven tracks! Over 2-1/2 hours!), the title HOLY FUCK. Live Comedy is pretty fitting. You’d be hard-pressed (whatever that means) to find a more enjoyable time for - at risk of sounding like an infomercial - such an affordable price. I can’t help but remember back in the day when I paid $16.99 for a Comic Relief CD. Sixteen freakin’ ninety-nine. For a freakin' Comic Relief CD. Fast-forward 20 years and things have turned in favor of the comedy fan. There are more laughs here, more comedians, and you’re definitely not paying 17 bucks. Someone somewhere is getting ripped off but it’s not the consumer.
Each of the comics on this album perform a very abbreviated set, which is both a good and bad thing. It's bad because you want more, even though it would probably result in a 43-hour project, but good because it leaves you wanting more. If this project is like the free samples at Costco designed to entice you into buying a crate of almond-covered chocolate balls, then consider me an old woman rudely pushing others out of the way to get my hands on a box. It’s a great introduction (or re-introduction, in some cases) to some of the smartest and wittiest comics working today.
There are a lot of names here that I recognized and was excited to see listed. Dana Gould doesn’t disappoint with his trifecta of taboo topics, Matt Braunger nails classic rock radio promos, and Beth Stelling shares those three little words a woman doesn’t want to hear from a stranger. Jackie Kashian makes the most of her 3-1/2 minutes with a really solid set on being married (to a man!) and animal optometrists, My Strange Addiction is nicely skewered by Natasha Leggero, and Rory Scovel perfectly captures the spirit of horrible preachers. Kyle Kinane kills it on his encounter with an aromatic-enthusiast and his defeat disguised as a victory was a great moment in “Funny Because It’s True”-thiness.
As for those I wasn’t as familiar with, well, let’s just say I’m glad they came to the party. Michelle Buteau is wary of anyone who owns a shed and rightfully so. Johnny Pemberton has a great bit on the lack of Southern characters in futuristic films (“My word!”) and I’m stoked to hear more from Allen Strickland Williams (“Fool me once...go fuck yourself”). Joe Wengert discusses the four stages of manhood and I was pleased to find myself at level three.
Hasan Minhaj hates neck-tattooed, Tapout-wearing guys and Cornell Reid loves Michael Jordan. Ron Babcock gave his business card to a girl on the subway and Eli Olsberg got off on the wrong stop. Jarrod Harris talks to himself in a hilarious Hannibal Lecter-ish creepy voice that made me wonder when he was going to call himself a ruuuube, Shawn Pearlman has a great way of telling someone they have hives, and Baron Vaughn’s journey through the land of early-90s Disney cartoons is a bull’s eye.
And that’s just the first disc. The first disc! I didn’t get to touch on everything that made me laugh or every note I jotted down while listening but that’s because I wanted to leave room for disc 2. That’s right, there’s more!
I didn’t even get to Jeff Wattenhofer’s idea for arriving at work 30 minutes late (or his struggle finding someone in the audience to use as an example) and Pat Regan’s catchy love letter to San Francisco. Raj Desai is a real “comedian’s comedian” and Andy Peters finds himself in a laundry game of “finders keepers” against his will.
Matt Ingebretson ponders the origin of his dimples, Sean Green was the guy at Penn State who was arrested, and Sean Patton’s riffs on the names of the other comedians on the roster are so bad, they’re amazing. Barbara Gray has an odd track record with men, Will Weldon makes abortion material fun (finally!), Zach Sherwin explains the new phrase “legato gelato,” and Hampton Yount nails it when he wonders what it would be like if the strippers at “Crazy Girls” really were.
I haven’t done the comedians justice by flying through the bullet points but if there weren’t so many of them, and so many of them that were so funny, well...it’s one of those “too much of a good thing” things, and I’m not complaining.
A huge kudos goes to whomever it was that put together the lineup. Founder Dave Ross starts off the first disc and sets the bar high. It’s a standard that’s maintained throughout the entire duration of both CDs. With many compilations the organizers save the best for last or, reversing that, the evening starts off strong and peters out. There’s none of that here. This is a solid lineup and the fast pace and limited time means we always cut right to the funny.
I hope I covered everything. I’m sure I didn’t. It’s like the first time you go to the Museum of Natural History. You spend six hours there and then realize you have four more buildings and eight more floors to cover and you want to see it all but you also want to see it all but it’s all so good and there’s so much of it and....just....