Tag Archives: A Special Thing

Stand Up Wit…Greg Proops

I now have even less spare time.

Whip-smart comic Greg Proops has taken the plunge and has started a live podcast. Just when I was figuring out a way to keep up with Marc Maron and Bill Burr, let alone the several other comics that I try to slot in, now Proops has tossed his cap in the ring. From the website: In this, the inaugural episode of “The Smartest Man in the World,” Greg takes on Jerry Brown, Ayn Rand and the ACLU. No word on the frequency of these podcasts, but hopefully we’ll see some type of regular schedule.

Greg’s words tumble from mind to mouth to microphone so fast it’s hard to believe there’s a filtering process in place. But whether there is or not, there are so many subtle jabs peppered within the overt jokes that you – like the live audience – might miss a few on first listen. (Thank you for a second chance, podcast!) And doing this live in front of an audience adds even more charm and wierdness to the process. Who else would start coughing during a live taping and then – to regain the lost momentum – shift into a tuberculosis-ridden Doc Holliday impression?

Proops is well-known to many as one of the key contributors to the improv comedy program Whose Line Is It Anyway?  (both the original UK program and Drew Carey’s US version); he also has a wealth of credits ranging from animation voice-overs to guest appearances and recurring character parts on TV. But I most admire Proops as the snarky stand-up comic ripping society and all its foibles a fresh new one. He has four releases available: Joke Book, Houston We Have a Problem, Elsewhere and the newest title, an EP called Proops Digs In (recorded at Largo, where Proops often hosts a star-studded comedy talk show).

You can pick up Proops Digs In from AST Records; I highly recommend the three-EP package that also includes new works from Dan Telfer and the amazing Paul F. Tompkins. An absolute steal – all three for just fifteen dollars. But while you’re waiting for the package to arrive, here’s a free seventy-five minutes to tide you over.

Grab the podcast on iTunes, via RSS Feed or simply visit the website.

Visit Greg’s website.

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Stand Up Wit…Kyle Kinane

 

Although an aptly named album, Death of the Party shouldn’t bring to mind a comic playing the woe-is-me card or deadpanning his way through a litany of jokes. Instead, Kyle Kinane gleefully exposes the pointlessness of his daily existence, from the moment the alarm clock mocks him to start his day to the many failed interactions and absurd encounters with the outside world. And by outside world he means those few moments when he can launch off the couch and go outdoors with any sense of purpose. 

Recorded last August in Los Angeles at the UCB Theatre, Death of the Party starts out a little tentative (although the very first joke is classic). Kinane isn’t quite stream of consciousness, but it may take a bit to get into the cadence of his presentation (although the absurdity of his imagery is spectacular). I mean, who comes up with getting into a fistfight with the manager of a Red Lobster over whether the Moon landing was faked

Far from polished, the disheveled delivery is a good launching pad for his riffs, although some seem tighter than others. Never having seen him, I’m not certain whether that is due to older stories being fine tuned or him gauging the audience and making some changes on the spot. But what’s particularly impressive is that this album was recorded at a single performance, not cobbled together from a multi-night stand.

The bit about watching his friends’ kids was very strong (including a great line about why you need a more complex answer to a simple question), but then the routine about his physical appearance and his girlfriend seemed to wander a bit before getting to the one great line. But the Cholo bar bathroom story was airtight, and soon after that he hits a groove that continues through the rest of the set; the stories just more absurd and more off-the-chart funny. The bits about the Detroit Lions and Trader Joe’s had me doubled over (seeing the latter done live must be twice as funny). 

Bunny sex. Forklift mishaps. Gourmet cake decorations. Pretentious intellectual thoughts not making the journey from brain to mouth. Job pornography. Sibling Failure. Volcano barbeques and inspirational insomnia.  

In another bit of subversive hilarity, the track titles listed on the back of the CD are the nine songs on Dream Police, the third album by Cheap Trick. Not quite the loopy fake titles that David Cross and Steve Hofstetter have thrown out there, but totally in keeping with the aura of lowered expectations, as if even naming the bits would be a concession towards a productive, organized existence he can’t fathom maintaining (although there is a bonus track). 

Please trust me on this one – if you think it starts out a little slowly, stay with it.  Death of the Party is a no-brainer Best of 2010 contender. 

Also available for children's parties.

Preview some sample clips here

Buy Death of the Party from AST –  click here

Kyle’s MySpace page

Kyle video: how to start the day

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Filed under Comedy, Reviews