Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Our Top 5 Stand-Up Albums of 2007

We figured two weeks into the new year would be the perfect time to post our list of our five favorite stand-up albums of the year.

In case you didn't know, comedy is in a really great place right now. Websites like Superdeluxe and Funny Or Die are putting out quality videos, blogs like The Apiary are covering the underground scene for people that aren't lucky enough to live in the hot spots and A Special Thing started a great record label. And maybe more importantly, there isn't so much stand-up on television that it is becoming watered down.

This list could've been longer, but after five it became too arbitrary. So honorable mentions include: Steven Wright's I Still Have A Pony, Michael Ian Black's I Am A Wonderful Man, Jen Kirkman's Self Help, Jonah Ray's This Crazy Mixed Up Plumbing (technically an EP) and Flight of the Conchord's The Distant Future (also just an EP).

5. Mike Birbiglia - My Secret Public Journal Live (Comedy Central)

There aren't many good storytelling comedians around, but Mike Birbiglia is one of them. While his first two albums consisted of short, quick jokes, My Secret Public Journal Live is made up of longer first-person stories he started telling on the Bob & Tom radio show. Birbiglia can connect with his audience so well that by the time he says "before I tell you this part of the story, to remind you, that you're on my side", its kind of redundant.

4. Comedy Death Ray (Comedy Central)

It's a little unfair to put L.A.'s answer to Invite Them Up on here because it's a double-disc, but if you were to condense the best tracks down to one CD it would make the cut. My favorite tracks include: PFT (great stuff that wasn't on his album!), Todd Glass, Hard N Phirm, Neil Hamburger, Jimmy Pardo (razor scooter!), Nick Thune, Reno 911 and Andy Daly. The Andy Daly character is so hilarious that it's worth the price of this alone. It should be illegal to just post it on the internet because that would be spoiling the surprise.

3. Patton Oswalt - Werewolves & Lollipops (Sub Pop)

Because he talks about things that no one else does. Who else has material about the 20 birthdays you are allowed to celebrate, crazy chefs of four-star restaurants, or physics for poets and make it hilarious? Plus, "Wackity Schmackity Doo!" is one of the funniest things I've heard this year and the "Gatekeepers of Coolness" really struck a chord with me as there was a guy where I grew up that had the same effect on me. His name was Dr. Rock.

2. Michael Showalter - Sandwiches & Cats (Jdub)

The first time I listened to this album I didn't really get it. Perhaps I'm just not smart enough. I thought it was pretty good, but nothing really jumped out at me. But luckily I listened to it again and it hit me like a ton of bricks in my big, dumb head. Although not all stand-up, songs with his band The Dollies and studio bits are included, there's enough for it to make the list. There are subtle things here that most other albums lack, like the quiet delivery of "jumpy legs" on "Requip". A lesser comic would really play up that line in an attempt to get a big laugh, but for Showalter that's just the beginning.

1. Paul F. Tompkins - Impersonal (AST)

Because everything on here is funny. Lines like "here's how rich I am" and "I'll tell you this for free" get me every time. And because his peanut brittle bit is so incredibly obvious yet hilarious no matter how many times you hear it. And this is all material he doesn't do anymore!

And although we won't make lists for these, The Ten was the funniest movie of the year and Louis CK's Shameless was by far the best stand-up special of the year.


Billy said...

Showalter's album is awesome. It's one of the few CD's I've actually PAID for.

PackyKelly said...

haven't seen louis ck's special. i love him though, so i'm sure it's good. but did you see stanhope's? best stand-up i've seen in ten years.