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T.G.I.F. – Ten Upcoming Comedy Releases

We’re in the midst of another stand-up comedy renaissance, although you’d never know it by the recent Grammy nominations. But as one who eagerly anticipates every comedy album release, I was thrilled with 2010’s bounty and 2011 is shaping up to be even better with first releases from great new comics as well as the return of a couple of old favorites.

Looks like television has raised the bar for 2011 – IFC has picked up Mr. Show, The Ben Stiller Show and The Onion News to add to an already great lineup that includes Arrested Development, Undeclared and Freaks And Geeks. The new Comedy Central Presents series launches in mid-January and John Oliver’s Stand Up returns in March. Might have to get another DVR!

So here are Ten Upcoming Comedy Releases to get excited about. And keep your eyes peeled at Stand Up! Records, Comedy Central, Uproar Entertainment, Rooftop Comedy , AST and other fine labels committed to bringing great comedy to your front door…

01) Patrice O’Neal Elephant In The Room…comedy special taped in November and will be available in January. One of the funniest guys on the planet and a very overdue release!

02) Nick Griffin Bring Out The Monkey…thrilled that he cut a second album after all this time; he nails the angst of frustrated desperation as well as anyone ever has.

03) Daniel Tosh Happy Thoughts…I don’t follow Tosh 2.0 but both of his prior releases were hilarious. Great presentation and sarcasm; I can’t wait!

04) Kurt Metzger – (Title TBD)…I’ve been pimping this guy to anyone who will listen; anyone who saw Last Comic Standing knows he got screwed over. Maybe the album on this list I’m most excited about.

05) Paul F. TompkinsYou Should Have Told Me…his first DVD and sure to be an undoubtedly surreal experience. I’m still laughing at Freak Wharf, let alone his amazing guest stint on Community last week.

06) Natasha Leggero – (Title TBD)…I gave her a rough ride when covering Last Comic Standing but ate my words when she got a chance to do standup on the last episode. Check out the second Tonight Show clip on her website; the album will surely be a killer.

07) Louis CKHilarious…how prolific is this guy? Louie got picked up for another season and might have been the best show of 2010; Hilarous is coming out in January and he’s already touring with a new show, Word.

08) Whitney Cummings Money Shot…loved her first album, one of the best comedy releases of 2009. She’s fearless and raw, and this new show is funny as hell.

09) Nick Kroll Thank You Very Cool…scene stealing Kroll will no doubt have some blisteringly inappropriate stand-up plus feature some of his bizarre characters.

10) Norm MacDonald Norm MacDonald Stand-Up Special…March 2011, proving once and for all that there is a God.

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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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Mad(?) Prophets

My daughter picked up a copy of Network the other day; we had watched it together years ago. I’ve tried to resist imparting my list of music and film “classics” on my kids because people need to get their own socks knocked off and not have pre-conceived notions (at least any more than they will get from the media and/or their peers). But since she is pursuing a career in television production, I made an exception, and apparently an especially valid one since we now know just how prescient Paddy Chayefsky was.

“I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore!”

I’m a big fan of curmudgeon comedy when it’s done well; few are better angst-ridden wailers than Marc Maron. His podcast series, WTF, is my favorite, and this recent bit with Eddie Pepitone just slayed me. Sure, it’s no Howard Beale going crazy, it’s just a hysterical rant from a comedian. But at the core it’s a rallying cry to see through the bullshit for what it is and realize that (in the words of Dean Vernon Wormer) “fat drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son“!

“Why do I have to be concious for the horror?”

Subtly – or perhaps not so muchMaron and Pepitone are challenging their fellow comedians to step up their game and honor their craft by holding a mirror up to society and telling the truth. Because no one else is.

Laugh til it hurts, folks.

Marc Maron WTF podcast

Eddie Pepitone website

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