28 January 2010

That's Funny

I saw this documentary a while ago on HBO with Jerry Seinfeld and it was quite good. He was explaining why he was going back on the road to do stand-up. It was his job; it's in his blood; it's what he enjoyed.
He talked about the satisfaction of doing well. An off-camera voice asked if it was easier now that he was established. "No," he said. He explained that reputation might buy you a minute, maybe two, but if you're not on the audience will feel it and let you know. No matter who you are.
I have no idea why I was thinking about this today, other than the fact that I was surprised and impressed with his introspection and desire to keep going out there and killing 'em. But think about it I did and it made me realize how impressive a great comedy album is. Then I started to think about my favorite comedy albums. And, in no particular order, here they are:

  • Bill Cosby-Himself
  • George Carlin-Just about anything, but I've always enjoyed What the Hell am I Doing in New Jersey
  • Sam Kinison-Louder Than Hell
  • Chris Rock-Bigger & Blacker
  • Robin Williams-Live at the Met
  • Eddie Murphy-Delirious
  • Rodney Dangerfield-No Respect
  • Bob Newhart-the Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart

Honorable mention goes to Andrew Dice Clay's Dice. Yeah, he turned out to be a one-hit wonder that stayed around a lot longer than he needed to and yeah most of the material is misogynistic and offensive but, at the time (and I was about 14 or 15) it was funny as hell.

By the way, offensive isn't necessarily a bad thing if it's funny. And the funny means it stands the test of time. I don't think Dice's album does that. If I were to hear it now and laught, it would be more out of nostalgia than the true funniness of the material.


roconnor said...

A comedienne friend took me to see Emo Phillips. I was thinking, "This is a huge favor I'm doing for you because I hated that guy so much."

Turned out he had a great set. Yeah, the voice is toe curling. But his material and his delivery were impeccable.

It's more than talent, it's a lot of hard work. You've got to respect a guy like Seinfeld (or any schmuck who gets up there with the likelihood of bombing) for what they put into it.

The time we saw Gallagher (for free), on the other hand...

Claudio said...

I recently tried to watch a Richard Pryor stand up vod from the early '80's recently. It did not hold up at all. Bill Cosby Himself still makes me cry with laughter.