Friday, September 27, 2013

Patrice O'Neal's "Unreleased"



Man, it’s good to hear Patrice O’Neal again.

Unreleased” features (mostly) brand new material that until now hadn’t been shared with the general public. This is the third album to drop since O’Neal’s passing (If you count “Better Than You,” the 20-minute EP that came out last year and is also included on this CD) and is yet another reminder of what an amazing talent we lost. Once again we get to see what a naturally funny man he was. It came so easily, so effortlessly, one hilarious line after another flowed from him and not even he was able to contain it.

If you’re familiar with O’Neal’s style of comedy, you know he’s not exactly ABC Family material. At the same time, though, his comedy doesn’t feel dirty. When you listen to a Jim Norton CD, for example, you may feel like you need a shower afterwards. A long, long shower. O’Neal doesn’t leave you with that feeling because he was so light-hearted in his approach. The way his voice squeaked with laughter as he uttered the most ridiculously graphic sentences gave his blue humor a light-hearted feel that took away any mean-spirited bite that might have been there if someone else uttered the exact same lines (Like the YouTube-r who recently landed himself in the spotlight for flat-out stealing material from O’Neal - and other comics. He’s repeating O’Neal’s comedy verbatim and totally missing the mark, only proving how much of a comedic presence he’s not, especially compared to O’Neal).

Not even three minutes into the album, O’Neal is already playing with the audience, taking on various people before they have a chance to get to him, and it’s a lot of fun. He thrives on interaction and as he sets aside his prepared material on Washington DC to instead deal with a man in the crowd from the UK and his uncircumcised penis, you can’t help but get swept up in the fun.

To be honest, I don’t even know if O’Neal has prepared material when he takes the stage. I’m sure he does, but you never get the feeling that he’s hitting points A, B, and C on the pre-arranged list in his head. Everything has an organic and natural effusion and O’Neal easily dances from one topic to the next so smoothly, you don’t even notice it happening. He playfully taunts a chicken finger-eating woman in the crowd who - at first - seems a formidable opponent, never backing down from his jibes and throwing some of her own back at him. But, like a cat playing with an injured mouse before going in for the kill, it is O’Neal who will have the last word. When it is finally revealed the woman is a mother of five, well...that’s all she wrote.

O’Neal really loved what he did and you can hear in his voice the pleasure he took in entertaining people. Whether he’s explaining how a good relationship is like a car accident or giving a young bull tips on dealing with women, you know that no matter where O’Neal takes things or how far he pushes the envelope, when we get there we’re all gonna be laughing. 

Thanks to CDs like this one, we’ll continue laughing for a long, long time.


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