Month: December 2011

T.J. Miller, “No Real Reason” (DVD) and “The Extended Play EP” (CD)

T.J. Miller put out two comedy projects of more than an hour each under his name in 2011, a CD (“The Extended Play EP”) and a DVD (“No Real Reason”). But you only need to buy one. The 41-track CD is a joke on music. Intended to be a meta statement on music and comedy, it spoofs hip-hop, rap and the rap album’s conceit of inserting sketch comedy between rap tracks. But the joke’s on us. Even with so many other comedians lending their mouths on tracks (Christina Anthony, Brandon Johnson, Pete Holmes, Doug Benson, Bo Burnham, Ethan Suplee, and...

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Doug Stanhope, “Oslo — Burning the Bridge to Nowhere”

Unlike any comedy DVD you’ve seen before, Doug Stanhope opens his 2011 release, “Oslo – Burning the Bridge to Nowhere,” with a taped introductory message, sitting behind a desk or table with a pint of beer, and pulling back the curtain on the “magic” of comedy specials for a few minutes, revealing how Comedy Central and other production companies use audience “fluffers” to manufacture excitement at the top of the show, and how “smash-cut editing” takes out any lulls. “It’s shit,” Stanhope says, “and this is different.” “This is what the road is like.” Stanhope said his manager sprung the recording...

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Tig Notaro, “Good One”

Tig Notaro’s “Good One” wound up on multiple best-of lists in 2011. The CD certainly opens with a bang, as Notaro is brought onstage by good friend Sarah Silverman (how many stand-up comedians can match that starpower in an introduction?), and in less than a minute, Notaro has opened with a short but good one about Chaz Bono. Her slow, deliberate pacing, combined with a dry wit, builds suspense before each misdirect. It works equally as well even when her next line is most predictably direct. And also compounds the impact of repetition. The pauses, meanwhile, allow for some funny...

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Patton Oswalt, “Finest Hour”

Patton Oswalt has reached that level of success where he’s compelled to say up top, “Nothing I’m going to say will live up to that!” to lessen the audience’s expectations. Which doesn’t matter because the opening applause is but one of many breaks during his latest hourlong set, “Finest Hour,” out on Comedy Central Records as a CD (it’s also on video, but the DVD will have to wait until 2012, as Showtime continues to air it on cable over the next couple of months, at least). If 2009’s “My Weakness is Strong” was about Oswalt preparing to become a...

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Jim Norton, “Despicable”

Can you separate the Jim Norton you hear on Opie & Anthony’s radio show from the Jim Norton you see on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show from the Jim Norton you may have read about in either of his best-selling books of essays? Of course. In “Despicable,” Norton’s first CD in years and first release since his 2007 HBO special, “Monster Rain,” you’ll hear that the comedian is just like the guy he describes in his memoirs. Norton reveals himself to be the despicable one in his scenarios, realizing that having a relationship with a woman is more likely to mean...

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