Thursday, September 30, 2010

R.I.P. Greg Giraldo

I don't really give a fuck when most celebrities die. Even if they die young. But Greg Giraldo's death has gotten me quite upset. If you look over at my list of 20 favorite comedians, you may notice Giraldo isn't on there and go, "Well, what the fuck? Not even top 20, and you're broken up about him?" Well, just know that Giraldo would've been #21 on that list. In fact, his last album is one of my top albums of the last decade.

On top of that, what's upsetting about Giraldo's death to me is that I feel like he had finally reached a point in his comedy career where he was getting the recognition he deserved. Just about all of my favorite comedians working today are around that late 30's to mid 40's age range, Giraldo died at 44. It takes many comedians that long to get recognized. He didn't put out his first album until 2006, when he was 40.
Giraldo had also been through a lot. A couple of divorces, drinking wasn't a walk in the park for him. He finally overcame his drinking demons in '05.

He was a great comedian. Original, daring, insightful and fucking funny. When I watched the Flavor Flav roast, Giraldo was slaying it. About 5 great slams in a row, and he continues the rolling laughter by saying that Flav "looked like a skeleton wrapped in electrical tape." I've never laughed harder at anything in my life. I've laughed about that hard at some things, but that brought me to my pinnacle of laughter.

R.I.P. Greg Giraldo. The comedy world will miss you.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A phrase that should no longer exist

Here's a phrase that should probably disappear from the English language: "Excuse me, there's a lady present." Oh really, so what does that mean? All the fun I was just having must now end? I can't talk about blowjobs or tell shit stories or make an AIDS joke, because your delicate lady-like ears might hear it?
This isn't 1873, with women wearing corsets and their hair tied up and piled on their heads... not being able to listen to the men discuss business. It's 2010, women are supposed to be equals now.

What the fuck, I know a lot of girls that I could say anything I want around them and they wouldn't freak out. And by you saying, "there's a lady present" you're being very insulting towards them. Like they're not ladies just because they're adults and hearing me talk about shitting doesn't make them cry and run away.

My sister is 16 years old. She's 16, and she calls me a cunt every other day. I call her that too, we're cool like that. We used to play a game where we would call each other cunts as loud as we could. We would just yell that at each other in the house, and it was freeing to be able to do that.

"Lawson's a cunt!"
"Bryce is a cunt!"
"Lawson's a CUNT!"
"Bryce is a CUNT!"

and we would laugh hysterically.

But my sister is a lady. She goes to a Catholic school, a lot of girls there with the short skirts and tight blouses on. My sister dresses conservatively. And she's pretty too, it's not that she's covering up a terrible body. She's in great shape, she does yoga and shit. On top of that, she's abstinent. She doesn't want to have sex until she finds someone who's worthy. On the flip side, I talk about a big shit I took and I hear other girls saying, "Excuse me, there's a lady present," meanwhile they had a different dick in them every night for the past week. Oh really, I can't talk about shit around you, but you tossed the salad of a guy who you just met because he told you he was a director and could get you work, when really he just sells bootlegged DVD's outside of a Rite Aid?! Go fuck yourself.

Because it's "ladies" like you that made me think for a long time that women aren't funny. Wanda Sykes is a lady, and she has a bit where she talks about how cool it would be to have a detachable pussy.
So fuck off!

What's even worse is when guys do it. When a guy says, "Excuse me, there's a lady present," because it's always his girlfriend and the only reason he's he's trying to stop me is so she doesn't see him burst out laughing about the juvenile thing I'm about to say.

I'm going to tell you this story, about the first time I heard anyone use that phrase. I was in 6th grade. I was hanging out with my best friend, Cris Vergara in the school library. And we were on the computer, we were sharing it. Not because we're gay, but he wanted to show me something. ...Not his dick. Anyway, we were on the computer and ironically, he was showing me a website that had jokes on it. Some website with jokes that I guess had been compiled and most adults probably knew, but we were in 6th grade. So he showed this to me, and one of the jokes he opened up went something like this:

A man finds a magic lamp, he rubs it, and a genie pops out. The genie says, "I will grant you 3 wishes." And the man says, "I want to be young forever!" and the genie snaps his fingers and the man is 21 again, with a full head of hair and no wrinkles. Then the man says, "I want to be rich forever!" and the genie snaps his fingers and the man is littered with gold. Then the man says, "I want to be irresistible to women forever!" and poof, the man turned into a tampon.

Now, I'm in 6th grade, I don't know what a tampon is. But my friend does and he's laughing his balls off. i want to understand the joke, I want to be in on it, so I ask him, "What's a tampon? Dude what's a tampon?" But he won't tell me, he's being an asshole. He just keeps laughing. So I ask louder, thinking that that'll make him tell me so now I'm going, "What's a tampon?! What's a tampon?!" he still just keeps laughing, now not at the joke anymore, but at the fact that I keep persisting in asking him. So now I'm mad and I'm like, "Dude seriously, what's a tampon?!! What the FUCK is a TAMPON!!?" I'm yelling that in the goddamn school library. Then I hear a voice behind me go, "Excuse me..." and I turn, it's a classmate of ours, a tiny 6th grade girl. And she says, "Excuse me, there's a lady present." And I was so embarrassed. But I thought she was mad at me because I was yelling, not about the tampon thing, so I said, "Oh sorry." Then I started whispering to my friend, "Hey dude, what's a tampon?"

Later, when I found out what a tampon was, I got the joke and had quite the belly laugh. But what that girl said always stuck with me. "Excuse me, there's a lady present." I mean obviously I wasn't trying to be rude, I had no idea what we were even talking about. That bitch should've just told me what it was so I would shut up. And again, she's not a lady. She's not, she's an eleven year old girl. There's nothing lady like about her. She was probably still picking boogers out of her face and smearing it on the wall. She hadn't developed class yet.

It's a bullshit phrase that keeps women down, and it needs to be erased.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Favorite Comedy Albums of the Decade (Part 2)

Jim Gaffigan, Beyond the Pale (2006) 8/10

The man with the "inner voice" displays his best work of the decade on this album. Yes, he will talk for an hour about food and being lazy, because that's what the man knows. In fact, 12 of the 21 tracks are named after something having to do with food. His material is also clean, which has helped him in being marketed, but by no means does clean mean unfunny. He is a joke craftmen, and this album showcases it best.
Fav track: "Hot Pockets", of course. Gaffigan's best bit he ever wrote on Hot Pockets is present on many of his albums, this just so happens to be the best album it's on. Yet, it's still the highlight track. I remember seeing this bit for the 1st time on TV when I was 14, and that day I learned a completely new definition of laughter.

Marc Maron, Tickets Still Available (2006)

Maron's takes on life, love and politics rank second to none in this album. What makes this album so great is Maron's need to present a human connection between himself and his audience. Maron gets very personal talking about his manic-depressive father, "it's very exciting, half the time", his wife and dealing with his own self hatred. Maron also discusses his Jewish heritage a great deal and tells the story of the first time he came out as a Jew onstage. This album is very funny and very thought provoking.
Fav track: "Life", seems generic enough, but Maron sums up a lot of things in 5 minutes. It ends with an attack against PETA, which is great.

Demetri Martin, These are Jokes (2006) 8.5/10

Martin is a joke writing king, and this album extensively displays those talents. His deadpan one liner style is reminiscent of the great Steven Wright, but Demetri isn't afraid to use unconventional methods either, such as music or having someone else describe his more visual jokes.
Fav track: "Sames and Opposites", Demetri plays guitar while describing how some things are the same or opposite, even if the things don't appear to have any relation at first.

Patton Oswalt, Werewolves and Lollipops (2007) 9.5/10

Oswalt's 2nd effort might even eclipse the first. This album has Oswalt dissecting everything from the New Star Wars trilogy to why 60 year old women shouldn't give birth. Oswalt's ability at storytelling is great and his writing is phenomenal.
Fav track: "Clean Filth", Oswalt shows us how cleaned up, G rated language can be more horrifying than just plain dirty language.

Paul F. Tompkins, Impersonal (2007) 10/10

This IS my favorite album of the decade. I don't know if there's much more to say than that. Tompkin's wit is satirical and his delivery is epic. He deconstructs big targets like Hollywood (Tomboy) and nonsensical ones like Sesame Street. Every track on this album is A material. I wish I had 3 bits as good as the weakest 3 bits on this album.
Fav track: "Peanut Brittle", Tompkins' take on an apparent modernized version of prank peanut brittle cans. It builds up substantially as the bit progresses, as Tompkins imagines how these prank cans would be impossible to avoid getting fooled by. This is one of my favorite bits in history, the 1st time I heard it I was fucking captivated.

George Carlin, It's Bad for Ya (2008) 9/10

Carlin's final effort before his death was one of his best. As always, Carlin's not afraid to point out bullshit when he sees it. He starts the album off by saying, "Fuck Lance Armstorng" and, while he's at it, "Fuck Tiger Woods too", because he's tired of being told who his heroes ought to be. Unfortunately he died before knowing that many women took the 2nd suggestion quite literally.
Fav track: "You Have No Rights", by the name alone, you can tell Carlin is about to drop some heavy fucking news on you. And he does so logically and intuitively, as always. This is one of Carlin's biggest statements he's ever made, up there with "There is no God" and "The Planet is Fine" (the people are fucked), and of course the earlier bit on the 10 commandments. R.I.P. George Carlin, and thanks for this final message you gave us.

Bill Burr, Why Do I Do This? (2008) 10/10

If I made a list of comedians that were not getting the mainstream success they deserve, Bill Burr would be #1. One of the best working today, arguably THE best, Burr's take on race relations and gender relations is so refreshingly funny, and also brutally honest. He talks about black/white relations better than any comic, black or white, working today. The man is a goddamn genius when it comes to seeing beneath the surface of our culture, which is why he's so good.
Fav track: "Muffins", right after Bill talks about having fucked up thoughts, as many guys do, he shares a story about one specific fucked up thought that he had. And yes, muffins were involved.

Louis CK, Chewed Up (2008) 10/10

Louis CK is my FAVORITE comedian working today. The man is a goddman dark genius. His take on raising children is the most honest and yet painfully funny out there. Also, you're going to want to check out his One night stand half hour special and his hour long special, "Shameless." Those 3 releases combine for 2 1/2 hours of some of the best stand up you'll ever see/hear. CK is getting into a rhythm of putting out amazing special after special a la Carlin.
Fav track: "Deer", Louis CK fucking hates deer, and he'll tell you why.

Andrew Daly, Nine Sweaters (2008) 8.5/10

Andrew Daly does 9 different characters, and the transition from each one is seamless. Each character starts out to be semingly normal enough. But then the pathos of each character is revealed, some slowly, some dramatically, and the result is always geniously funny. Daly has a knack for building up to a crescendo of comedy, as many of his characters plunge deeper and deeper into their psychological depths and the result is some very dark but hysterical revelations.
Fav track: "Life of the Party Inc.", Daniel Mahoney wants you to hire him to be the life of your party. Although, within the 13 minutes of this track, you may reconsider doing so.

John Mulaney, The Top Part (2009) 9/10

I hadn't really heard of John Mulaney before I listened to this album, but trust me, it deserves a spot on this list. Mulaney's storytelling abilities rival that of Patton Oswalt, and his knack for observation and joke construction are excellent. In "Top Part", Mulaney ponders what he'd be like as a drinking 8 year old, why people lump in bad movies like Scarface with the likes of the Godfather, and whether the biblical story of King Solomon is all it's cracked up to be.
Fav Track: "Law and Order and Mr. Jerry Orbach", Even if, like me, you haven't seen more than 5 minutes of Law and Order, Mulaney's deconstruction of it is spot on and extremely funny.

Greg Giraldo, Midlife Vices (2009) 8.5/10

Greg Giraldo was always the funniest guy at the comedy central roasts, and his previous release, "Good Day to Cross a River", was a superb debut album. What makes "Vices" so great is Giraldo's ability to spot inconsistencies in our culture but then give them his own dirty twist on them. In one track he complains about George Bush's chauvinism when he gave a massage to a German lady, as Giraldo claims, "With German women, you gotta shit on them first!" Giraldo is a master of the craft and Vices is an extremely relevant and funny album.
Fav Track: "Texting/Technology/Wall Punching", one of these things is not like the other, but Giraldo gives his hilarious take on all of them.

Favorite Comedy Albums of the Decade (Part 1)

Comedy took a left turn at shitville in the 90's, but it has been revived in the 2000's, with a lot of it due to the fact that alternative comedy really took off. I hate that it's called alternative comedy, it's stupid to divide it like that, but a lot of the alt comedians have put out some great shit this past decade.
Of course, there were also some outstanding albums done by more well known comics, George Carlin and Chris Rock, namely. All in all comedy's begun to rise up again in this decade, and so here is my list of my favorite comedy albums of the decade. Remember, these are my picks. Also, the list only goes up to 2009, because that's the end of the decade. I'll make a list of my favorite albums of 2010 at the end of the year.

George Carlin, Complaints and Grievances (2001) 10/10

Carlin is my favorite comedian of all time, mainly due to albums/specials like C&G. The man did 13 HBO Specials, and this is up there with the best of them. The man doesn't play games, he will openly and outwardly destroy a target he deems worthy, whether it's people who have annoying answering machines, or people who wear visors, or people named Todd...Carlin attacks every target from all different angles. He's crude, yet insightful. Angry, but sort of silly too. And most importantly he's genuine and hilarious.
Fav track: “Why We Don’t Need 10 Commandments,” Carlin dissects the 10 commandments, and at the end of it, dares God himself to prove him wrong... by striking Carlin dead. What fucking balls.

David Cross, Shut Up You Fucking Baby! (2002) 9/10

King of the indie comedy scene, if it may be called that, Cross gives social and political commentary throughout this album that really shows America's mindset following the events of 9/11. I know none of us really want to revisit that time, but when this came out this album could not be more relevant and it is still hilarious to listen to today. Yes, he's insanely liberal and more sarcastic, but that's how Cross confronts his targets, and he's extremely funny while doing so.
Fav track: “Playing Pool With My Wife” (all of the titles are non sequiturs), where Cross shares a couple of anecdotes about living in New York during “the week football stopped.”

Mitch Hedberg, Mitch All Together (2003) 9/10

Mitch could have become a legend (to some he already is) had his life not ended prematurely due to a drug overdose in 2005. He only released 2 albums during his life, this being the second. ("Do You Believe in Gosh" was released posthumously in 2008). Hedberg's signature stoner delivery mixed with his incredible one liner's makes this album a must have.
Fav track: "Sesame Seeds", Mitch discusses Sesame Seeds in hilarious ways, "What does a Sesame seed grow into? I don't know, we never gave them a chance! What the fuck is a Sesame?"

Dave Attell, Skanks For The Memories (2003) 10/10

Many of the things Attell discusses seem to be everyday topics for comedians to discuss. Namely: sex, drinking, drugs, dick jokes...but Attell just so happens to be an excellent writer. His combination of dirty material mixed with non sequiturs and his unmistakable delivery make this album EASILY one of the best of the decade. What's also great is, people start walking out of his show after he's onstage for about 3 minutes! Attell brings this to the attention of the listener, and then goes ahead and records one of the best albums ever. Too bad for those people that left. Eh, fuck 'em.
Fav track: "Travel", even the most common themes can be made hilarious if you're just that damn good, which Attell is. "I hate traveling, maybe because my dad used to beat me with a globe."

Christopher Titus, Norman Rockwell Is Bleeding (2004) 9/10

Christopher Titus is a master storyteller, and in this album he shares his entire life up to that point with the audience, and it's funny as shit. Not only because Titus' upbringing was quite hectic, but also due to his ability to mix in punchlines to keep his stories interesting and fluid. I say stories, but it's really one long story about his life, and it's awe inspiring to listen to.
Fav track: "Last Girlfriend", the longest track on the album, Titus describes the insanity he suffered under his ex's iron fist.

Patton Oswalt, Feelin' Kinda Patton (2004) 9.5/10

Oswalt's debut album is about as good as any there have ever been. There is also an unedited version of this masterpiece, 222, which I now prefer because of the insight it gives into stand up comedy, but for enjoyment purposes, "Feelin" is about as funny as can be, even if you don't know the topic Oswalt is discussing, you will laugh your ass off about it. Oswalt talks about what he wants to talk about, and he's a master of joke construction. One of the bits he does, "TIVO", actually was written into the storyline of King of Queens on some episode. Whatever, fuck King of Queens, but seriously buy this album.
Fav Track: "Stella Doro Breakfast Treats", Patton discusses a cookie commercial that is also the main reason why he's afraid of getting married.

Doug Stanhope, Deadbeat Hero (2004) 9/10

Comparable to Bill Hicks and Lenny Bruce, Stanhope is a man that's brutally honest and outspoken and could be considered the greatest social critic of this generation, picking up the baton from Mr. Carlin. Stanhope is controversial and makes his points unapologetically and without wavering, and he doesn't even do clubs. "Hero" is one of many excellent albums of his you could purchase.
Fav track: "Free Country?", America's not a free country, says Stanhope. After listening to this you'll find it hard to disagree.

Jim Norton, Trinkets I Own Made From Gorilla Hands (2005) 8/10

Jim Norton is the ruler of American cringe comedy. I also enjoy this meaty breasted zilch (his words) on Opie and Anthony, he's so quick and can dissect a topic in seconds on that show. His stand up is on par with that. In this album he discusses the blackout of 2003, his hatred for people with OCD, and extensively, sex.
Fav track: "Relations With The Elderly", this joke takes a horrid turn, and it's cringe inducingly funny.

Lewis Black, Luther Burbank Performer Arts Center Blues (2005) 8.5/10

Black became a mainstream success due to his signature style of ranting and angry outlook towards the world. The man appears to be on the edge of a stroke every time he hits the stage. This album has him covering the Janet Jackson Superbowl halftime controversy, and how America's reaction to it seems very out of place. Black's always been one of my favorites, and I consider this to be his best album.
Fav track: "America Loses It's Mind", Black discusses the aftermath of the halftime of 04, and how America's reaction was completely idiotic.

Chris Rock, Never Scared (2005) 8.5/10

The man's a legend, there's no doubt about it, and in "Never Scared", he gets even more personal here. After all, he's married with a kid now. Don't worry, Rock's take on these topics are fresh and funny, although the album does have some bonus skits in it that will not be up to par with Rock's actual stand up.
Fav track: "Smack Her With A Dick (Rap Stand Up)", Rock discusses why defending rap music is a lot harder than it used to be. "If the beat's alright, she will dance all night!"

Daniel Tosh, True Stories I Made Up (2005)

Now known for his hit show Tosh.0, Tosh is a master of combining fast paced edgy jokes with non sequiturs, leading you in circles while you're laughing your ass off. He says horrible things, but laughs as he does it, and his jokes are raunchy yet smart. None of his jokes follow the same format, so it's hard to guess his rhythm, and unpredictability is a plus in comedy. You'll love this album.
Fav track: "The Coprophagia Diet", the longest track in the album, Tosh discusses the type of restaurant he would open up were he to win millions of dollars.