In stark contrast to many of this year’s comedy CD, Andres du Bouchet’s “Naked Trampoline Hamlet” has only six tracks covering the full hour. But each is its own unique set piece. Du Bouchet is quite the character. Or characters.
Perhaps you’ve seen what he’s capable of as a writer for Conan on TBS. Certainly comedy nerds of New York City knew of his niche several years ago when he hosted the Giant Tuesday show at the old Rififi spot in the East Village (that’s now a Buffalo Exchange — oh NYC). On the disc, he opens the first 10 minutes of his set as the warm-up comic, Danny Yeahyeah. Why? “Because yeah, that’s right!” It’s a risky gambit, because working so in-depth with the audience gives the opening number a “you had to be there” feeling — we cannot quite hear the audience when “Yeahyeah” instructs them to say things to one another. But he keeps at it with such determination that you’re hard-pressed not to do what he says, even if you’re listening from afar.
Then he finally introduces himself to the stage. Except he’s on the phone while onstage? Just another trick up his sleeves. Then he actually does “About a Baker’s Dozen of Jokes,” even though he says that listeners who know him knows he’s not really a stand-up comedian. If you weren’t aware of du Bouchet, then it’ll take you until track three, the title track, to probably grasp what’s happening. But it’s not until “I, Finch,” that du Bouchet’s absurdist humor becomes more easily accessible to even the most casual listener, and the experience soars to new heights. Which continues as his manager, “Karl Management” takes the stage to offer up his ideas for new reality TV series. The finale, a story involving drinking and picking up women alongside David Hasselhoff, unfolds over the course of 17 minutes, going off on a lengthy tangent in the middle in which our performer recalls narrating a documentary about the discovery of helium. His commanding voice commands you to pay attention. Until finally, he exits simply, breaking character to say: “Thanks for bearing with me. That was fun.”
If you’re up for going along for the ride, no matter where it may take you, then it’ll be fun for you, too.
Sample tracks from “Naked Trampoline Hamlet”