Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Keith Alberstadt's "Walk It Off"


Spring has sprung and with it comes the emergence of warmer weather, driving with your windows rolled down, and longer daylight hours. Perhaps the most welcome arrival, though, is “Walk It Off,” the outstanding new release from Keith Alberstadt that hasn’t left my playlist since the day it came out. 

With friendly sarcasm accentuated by his punchy delivery, this project has been the perfect way to quench what has been a relatively dry comedy spell for me. When I use the phrase “friendly sarcasm,” it’s exactly what I mean. It can be hard to be sarcastic without coming off as angry, condescending, or jagoff-y. Alberstadt pulls off what most comics can’t: making snarky-yet-truthful comments that are laugh-out-loud funny without resorting to mean-spirited take-no-prisoners comedy. There are no victims here…Except for the fish keeping its eye on the food container. Or people who drink green tea. Or Alberstadt’s dad (but only while answering his smart phone)

Reading the track listing is an exercise in “Ah yeah, that was a good one, too” and I’m smirking now recalling the toddler who has trouble with the letter “R,” the vegan-intruder pillow barricade, white noise birds, and the parenting style in the 80s that inspired the title of the CD. As I’m sitting here smiling to myself, I’m wondering if it’s not unlike Alberstadt’s own creepy smile he didn’t even know he had.

I usually allow a few minutes at the beginning of a comedian’s set to allow him (or her) to settle in, get a feel for the crowd, and find their groove. That’s never been the case with Alberstadt. He’s good to go from the get-go. He’s comfortable on stage and from the second he begins there’s no doubt that he’s got this. It’s pretty impressive how quickly he puts the crowd at ease and there’s not even a moment of “gimme a second” trepidation.

What I’m trying to say - as if you couldn’t already tell - is I really enjoyed this album and the third time listening was just as enjoyable as the first. Usually when I write a review for this blog I listen, listen again, listen yet again, write, and then archive it. That won’t be the case this time around. This is comedy you’ll want to hang on to for a while. 

Or at least until something scares away the white noise birds. After that…you’re on your own.