At the outset of Tommy Johnagin‘s second stand-up comedy CD — titled, well, “Stand Up Comedy 2” — the comedian implores upon the audience: “Don’t suck. I’m going to hold up my end. I’m going to need you guys to bring it also.”
And bring it he does. Over the course of 14 tracks and 57 minutes, Johnagin may not have put much thought into titling his bits. Or did he? They follow the seemingly ordinary theme set forth by the disc’s overall title, with routines such as “Humorous story about drugs,” “Comedic take on drinking,” “Baby jokes,” and “Skits about parents.” Johnagin didn’t win the final season of Last Comic Standing (is there ever going to be another season of LCS? rhetorical!), but perhaps he should have.
Johnagin is a skilled craftsman. Fast and clinical as he moves in for the kill with multiple tags to each punchline. He doesn’t need to come up with a witty title for each track. The jokes speak for themselves. Speaking about how he drinks now to gin up the nerve to dance, as opposed to younger days when he drank to hit on women, he notes: “I know how much I need in my belly to get a little Usher into my soul.” This disc is a more personal effort, coming off the heels of his breakup with his fiancee. Upon hearing from his father that he was an “accident baby,” the fourth Johnagin child cleverly remarks that this is the family pattern: “If you meet a Johnagin, you weren’t supposed to.”
If you take a step back, “Stand Up Comedy 2” essentially is one hourlong story Johnagin tells about himself and his family, with a few tangents along the way.
Even when the bit isn’t quite spelled out, as Johnagin describes a sexual encounter in “Zipper,” it’s filled with asides and unexpected jokes — “I tried blowing in her nose, because it works on dogs” — and the second half of the hour is about his attempt to find “the one” for him, although as he points out, there can’t just be one, can there? “What if mine is in Bangladesh and doesn’t have Internet?”
The bonus track allows Johnagin to relate how he mistakenly visited a gynecologist, the follies of ordering a PB&J from room service, and an extended take on his bit about yard sale clothes that prompts him to explain why this is the “bonus” track. “There’s no way that can be on the CD,” he says. And yet.
This is the perfect album for anyone in their mid-20s to 30s trying to grow up and willing to laugh at themselves now instead of waiting until decades later. With so many comedians trying to position themselves for development deals and sitcoms, they’d do well to listen to Johnagin’s “Stand Up Comedy 2,” which already lets the audience in on an hour of his life and point-of-view as a single guy trying to figure it all out.
Listen to a track from “Stand Up Comedy 2”