Jen Kirkman is the funniest person in Chelsea Handler’s Chelsea Lately circle of comedian friends. By a mile. And then some.
Kirkman proves that once again (or if you’re not familiar with her or the E! programming, for the first time) on her sophomore album, “Hail to the Freaks,” (A Special Thing Records). If you didn’t know this was Kirkman’s second stand-up comedy CD, oh, she’ll remind you several times throughout her hourlong set. Not that you needed to have done your homework beforehand.
“I’m going to tell you about my life, and there’s a lot to tell,” she says. Kirkman’s an engaging storyteller who draws everyone closer to her, with the pacing, timing and organic conversational style that would work just as successfully at the office break room or at the end of a bar as it does in a comedy club.
When she talks about getting married at 35, she jokes about the exorbitant costs of weddings as well as whether to play the radio-friendly versions of her favorite songs — and also quickly diffuses any notion that she’s stuck in cliche “lady comedian” territory, rhetorically asking, wedding stuff already? “I know. People get married.” On the track, “Gays Abandoned Me,” Kirkman goes one step further, telling gay men she’ll go with them to a Kathy Griffin concert. “By the way, she’s not the only female stand-up!”
Kirkman is willing at every turn to reveal her inner demons, which probably are yours, too. Registering for knives before the wedding, do you ever fear you might use them someday to kill your spouse? Kirkman finds a way to make light of her Nana outliving her husband by 30 years and ultimately dying alone on the kitchen floor at 98: “It’s what she wanted!” as a way to counterbalance her Nana’s aversion to nursing homes with her granddaughter’s own thoughts on the matter. “I would live in assisted living now!” I don’t know if you have to be older than 30 to fully appreciate Kirkman, although it certainly helps on tracks such as “NYDJ” and “Teenagers are Dumb.” You don’t have to be that old to figure out how astute Kirkman is, however, when she compares Sarah Palin’s political career to the plot of any horror movie. It’s not over until it’s really over.
Hopefully Kirkman’s comedy career isn’t over anytime soon. So go buy “Hail to the Freaks.”