“With a name like Smuckers, it’s got to be good”.
Well, with a name like Witty, you’d better be funny! Thankfully, Isaac Witty is very funny. According to his bio, that is his real name, but he’s still had to work hard to claw up the ropes from Tulsa to Minneapolis to Chicago before breaking out on the late night talk shows, comedy festivals and (kudos on this one, sir) A Prairie Home Companion. He now resides in Queens (Astoria shout-out from this author) although you’d never get the New York vibe from his laid-back pace and passive stage presence. But make no mistake – the dude is wacked.
Zero Balance is chock-full of great bits and absurdly imaginative turns that will catch you by surprise. The album was recorded in one take from one show at the Go Bananas Comedy Club in Cincinnati. Witty is animated, with a wide array of vocal inflections for emphasis, and the recording captures everything with absolute clarity.
He might talk about common items like cell phones and restaurant waiters and carrot cakes, but he’s got a refreshingly twisted and unique take on most of them. I found myself often surprised by where Isaac took things and bit hard on the bait he put in his set-ups.
But if I could change one thing about his set, it would be to tighten it up a bit. I don’t mind the affable pace or even him occasionally cracking himself up; he’s obviously someone the audience warms up to immediately. But my gut reaction was that sometimes he nails the punch line and then lets the bit linger on more than necessary instead of cashing in and moving on.
Here are two clips that might help illustrate that a bit – good, oddball thoughts that are stretched out just a little bit too long. If these were a little quicker and tighter, I think he’d be unstoppable.
Not that everything has to be short – his “Grocery Store” routine was so ridiculous that even he admitted that he’d keep it going as long as people were still chuckling at it. There are thirty-three tracks on the Zero Balance, and while you might not like them all, a large percentage of them will have you rolling. I never heard of Isaac Witty before, but I’m keeping him on my radar from now on and can heartily recommend this album.
Isaac Witty homepage
Buy Zero Balance at Rooftop Comedy.