The List: Five(ish) comedy albums you need to hear
I'm actually really bad about listening to standup comedy that isn't by my friends or the people I'm constantly sharing stages with. I don't get fired up when the newest WTF? Podcast drops, or whatever, and I don't have Splitsider bookmarked to my home page or anything like that. And it's not because I don't like comedy. Obviously I do to some extent, or I wouldn't be doing comedy. I just thought you should know that the following list has been compiled by a man who listens to maybe one or two new comedy albums a year. These are five of my favorites.
I Liked His Old Stuff Better by Kyle Kinane
The turning point for me when I began pursuing standup was when I first saw Kyle Kinane open for Patton Oswalt six years ago at the Cleveland House Of Blues in 2010. He was doing a solid chunk of material from his debut album,Death of the Party, as well as refining some of the material that would appear on his follow-up,Whiskey Icarus. Something about his well-read, self-deprecating, smart idiot persona resonated with me, and he instantly became my favorite comedian. I've closely followed him since, even getting to open for him at Woodlands Tavern in 2012, and buying each release the day it came out, including a 7-inch split (featuring his amazing skunk story) and a digital-only release that also featured Bryan Cook and Ben Roy. Each album has been a step up from the last, repeatedly proving why he's one of the best storytelling comedians working today.I Liked His Old Stuff Better is no exception, featuring some of my favorite Kinane material regarding love and death. Plus he somehow keeps the audience on his side after he tells a story about receiving a blowjob from an underage girl with brain damage. He is hands down one of the funniest comics of all time.
Werewolves and Lollipops by Patton Oswalt
Prior to college, the majority of my standup knowledge was limited entirely to George Carlin'sYou Are All Diseased, because my mom used to play it all the time. While attending Bowling Green State University, I met a handful of friends who were very into the alt-comedy rise that was happening in the early-to-mid 2000s, and that was how I was introduced to the "Comedians Of Comedy" documentary featuring Zach Galifianakis, Maria Bamford, Brian Posehn and, of course, Patton Oswalt. I'd heardFeelin' Kinda Patton first, butWerewolves and Lollipops was the album that sold me, featuring his infamous KFC Famous Bowl joke as well as my favorite Patton Oswalt joke, the alternate timeline wherein he kills George Lucas with a shovel before he could ever make the "Star Wars" prequels.
How to Get High without Drugs by Ryan Singer
Singer is this year's headliner for the Whiskey Bear Comedy Festival, and an Ohio boy to boot. I had the pleasure of meeting Ryan five years ago when he was at Woodlands, and it's still one of my favorite shows. Singer consistently ups the ante with his comedy, expands the boundaries of what he tackles and, to the benefit of all who listen, gets just a little bit weirder with each album. But there's sincerity in Singer's bizarreness, and that's truthfully one of my favorite things about him. His comic voice is one of the most clearly defined, especially amidst a sea of sad white comics in their 30s and 40s (not that there's anything wrong with that, considering I'm one of those sad white comics in their 30s), and it helps him to stand apart and above many of his peers. Seeing the title track of this album performed live was one of my greatest comedy moments, and it is truly sheer, inspired comedic lunacy at its absolute finest.
God Is a Twelve-Year-Old Boy with Asperger's by Eugene Mirman
Though most will recognize Eugene Mirman as the voice of Gene Belcher from "Bob's Burgers," he was grinding it out as a standup well before that. Mirman is someone who really treats standup like an art form - a mentality that, in the hands of weaker comics, could be disastrously pretentious and insufferable. But Mirman's execution is flawless, and possibly at its strongest and most grandiose on this album (although his recent Netflix special "Vegan On His Way to the Complain Store" was also pretty solid), which covers an informational presentation regarding the bear population of Detroit, a survey of his own making for his former high school classmates and a dramatic radio play called "Sex, Delta AirLIES and Videotape," which features Kumail Nanjiani and Larry Murphy and details a lost baggage ordeal with Delta Airlines. It's also notable for featuring one of the only Christopher Walken impressions I've ever enjoyed.
Beyond that I highly recommend you check out some of the following:Nerd Is The New Black by Erik Tait,The Mispronunciation of Sumukh Torgalkar by Sumukh Torgalkar,Oh God Please Like Me by Laura Sanders andNo Don Draper by Michael Meyers. These are all albums by Columbus comics - some of whom have moved on to other cities. But, truthfully, these are some of the people who inspire and challenge me on a daily basis. And they're just as good as anything you'll hear or see on Comedy Central. So check them out. Because there's great comedy in a lot of places, and sometimes it's right in your own city.