If you were not aware that Jim David was gay, I think the cover of his third comedy album would probably tip you off. And I’m not just talking about the title (Notorious F.A.G.).
I was standing in Manhattan, a man came up and said, “they ought to take all these homos and put them on an island.” I said, “Merry Christmas, Bozo, you’re on it.”
I first encountered Jim on Tough Crowd where he was a frequent guest. If you weren’t quick with a dark sense of humor you would be eaten alive on that panel; Jim regularly held his own, often slipping in barbs that were so subtle even his colleagues would miss a beat. A North Carolina native, Jim lives in New York City and works the club circuit regularly when not touring in clubs and festivals.
Notorious F.A.G. has its moments but is inconsistent; there are sections that are lean and tight but others where the punch line takes a little too much effort. Part of this, like any audio comedy recording, is the absence of the physicality of the comedian, and Jim has great stage presence and an expressive face that adds a further dimension to his sarcastic takes. “Is Not Butter”, for example, obviously got a good response from the crowd in the club, but on the CD it’s a dry spot. But his accents are be spot-on and hilarious (the Ashley Wilkes and Morgan Freeman impressions were particularly priceless) and most characterizations come across well.
Video: A clip of Jim David’s stand-up act filmed at Carolines
I thought the bit about the gay tortoises was great, and several others like the letter from an angry club patron and visiting the Margaret Mitchell House were solid and engaging; ditto the “typical gay day”. And I absolutely loved the clever opening track - a disclaimer from his parents. I’m not sure wading through a five-minute routine about anal seepage was worth the punch line about anal bleaching, but I know I never want to hear the words “baked potato” and “screen door” in the same sentence again.
The album was recorded at shows in Portland, Maine and Atlanta in 2009 in front of two lively crowds. Jim has two other comedy CDs available, Live From Jimville and Eat Here and Get Gas, both worth grabbing. Like Notorious, he mostly avoids topical material that would date the routines (the OctoMom and Palin quips are worth it, though) so what was funny then is funny now.
Homophobes should avoid David’s albums for two reasons; first because the couple of gay sex routines will make them uncomfortable. And more importantly, the fact that David is just a funny guy – regardless of his sexuality - will make them really uncomfortable.
In addition to his stand-up success, his recent one-man show South Pathetic has been getting rave reviews. The play is about the worst community theatre group in the South trying to tackle A Streetcar Named Desire, with Jim performing all the key characters with accents and affectations. Hopefully this will get captured for posterity on a DVD so those of us not able to attend the live show can enjoy the madness.
Clips from Jim’s one man show, South Pathetic
Today is also the birthday of the 14th Dali Lama. So…y’know…he’s got that going for him…which is nice.