Monday, May 27, 2013

"Urban Myth Comedy Storytelling"



The "Urban Myth Comedy Storytelling” CD is a collection of various comedians telling stories they don’t usually perform in their act. It’s explained by host DC Benny as a sneak peek behind the scenes of comedy, just funny people telling funny stories they share with each other backstage. A lot of stand up comedy is storytelling, though, so the sense of unique novelty he seemed to be offering was a little lost on me. 

That being said, the stories contained here are enjoyable and are fun to experience. I did find it a bit funny (unintentionally, I think) that Benny explains to the crowd they’ve gathered the best storytelling comedians for this special night and then declares he’ll be starting things off. I don’t think he intended to claim himself as one of the best, but I snickered a bit when it came out that way. 

Benny’s stories (He gets to go twice! No fair!) are OK but things really pick up when Vic Henley takes to the stage. He tells the fantastic tale of a night in the UK he saw a comedian offend a Little Person in the audience and get taken to task. The way the following events unfolded - and did a complete reversal  in the process - were quite humorous even though, like Henley and his pals waiting in the wings, you saw what was going to happen a few moments before it actually did. The moment the revelation settles in was a fun one and even heightened the punchline before it happened.

Jess Wood and Big Jay Oakerson both have tales to share about a brush with the thug life, one of them at a party and one as a children’s entertainer, respectively. Ben Bailey’s encounter with comedian Louie Anderson came with a couple of left curves that were fun to navigate and kept you guessing. 

My favorite track is Dean Edwards’s tale of his brief stint on Saturday Night Live and the introduction of his wife to host Denzel Washington. I freely admit I’m an SNL junkie and I love hearing stories about what goes down behind the cameras and that may have influenced my choice a bit, but it also reminded me of how much I enjoyed watching Edwards on the show and how frustrated I was at the time that he didn’t get much of a chance to really shine. His impressions of Denzel and fellow castmate Tracy Morgan are spot-on and add a nice touch.

Instead of fading in and out of audience applause between tracks, there are instead weird clips and snippets of backstage activity. I’m sure it’s a nice glimpse into what’s going on behind the scenes on the video version of the project, but on an audio-only format it sounds bad. You’re never sure who’s talking and because we jump in during the middle of a sentence and sometimes fade back out before the story is over, there’s no way of knowing what in the world is going on or being talked about. It’s a bit jarring and would have been better left out of the CD/MP3 version.

All in all, though, it’s a good project with a nice collection of comedians making some fun contributions. It’s not exactly the sneak peek at what goes on backstage that was described in the opening since it all happens on stage and it’s not a group of comedians hanging out together telling stories to each other, but I guess that’s splitting hairs. Regardless of how it’s described, if you’re a fan of funny people telling funny stories like I am, then this is for you.


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