The Legend Of The Jersey Devil is an unusual comedy album that juxtaposes comedy from Kyle Grooms with an extended sketch about The Jersey Devil. While I appreciate the willingness to turn the concept of a comedy album around, I wish Grooms had stuck to the stage material. The sketch – a parody of cheesy monster-alien movies that even pays homage to the Thriller video – never really catches fire and breaks up the momentum of the CD. The stand-up performance, on the other hand, is very good.
Recorded at The Stress Factory in New Brunswick (albeit sounding like excerpts from multiple shows), Grooms plays to a crowd very familiar with the peculiarities of living in the Tri-State area, where Mayors come out of the closet and transport prostitutes across state lines, and you know what Turnpike exit you are at by the smell. Recorded late in 2008, he’s on target with Obama (including a spot-on impression of his grandoise speaking style) and the foibles of urban renewal (my favorite bit is about how different Times Square is now, especially getting your picture drawn).
Grooms drops the f-bomb and the n-word – a lot – but because of his conversational style those words roll off the tongue as easily as any other; while I wouldn’t play the CD in a car with small children it’s far from offensive. Conversely, he’s pretty amusing and astute regarding racial issues, from the rules of interracial dating to the real reason white people get uneasy when a black comic zeroes in on the n-word (“you’re just perpetuating the word…and they’re in this room!”). Other great bits revolve around the difficulty in being gangsta with glasses and why Starbucks will fail in the hood unless they change their approach to the customers.
There are some hit-and-miss bits about sex and body parts, but overall he’s got a lot of strong material and is adept at acting out his characters to bring it up a notch. I wish there were more straight comedy and less sketch, but there’s enough solid material on this one to warrant a recommendation.
Kyle’s clips at Rooftop Comedy.
Another clip – with subtitles for you Danes!
Kyle on MySpace