If you count “Please Buy My Jokes,” Kilstein’s first and self-released album, this is Kilstein’s third comedy CD or MP3 album. Kilstein can generally be described as a “political comedian.” After listening through this album once, I had very few positive things to say about it. So, I gave it a second listen to see if perhaps there were some additional layers to the material that I did not catch the first time around. Unfortunately, nothing was missed.
Political humor is difficult. George Carlin dabbled in it and some of the greats like Bill Hicks, Lewis Black, David Cross, and Jon Stewart built entire careers on it. However, what these other comics know (or knew) and what Kilstein misses is that funny has to trump heartfelt or intellectual meaning. This should go without saying but at the end of the day if what you’re saying isn’t funny, then it’s just not good standup. Maybe instead of calling himself a “political comedian” he would be better off calling himself a “social commentator.”
With political humor, agreeing with the message obviously adds to the listener’s enjoyment. So when I listen to Lewis Black, Jon Stewart, or David Cross, I find myself shaking my head in agreement at the same time that I am laughing. However, when it comes to good political humor agreeing with the message is not a requirement. Take, for example, someone like Nick DiPaolo or Dennis Miller. I rarely agree with anything political that DiPaolo or Miller has to say, but I still enjoy their albums and laugh hysterically.
That’s what makes someone like Kilstein a bit difficult to review. He’s a liberal who frequently entertains those involved in the “Occupy” and other such movements. As a result, I actually do find myself agreeing politically with some of what Kilstein has to say. The problem, however, is that while I agree with what he’s saying … I’m not laughing at what he’s saying. Kilstein has a rapid-fire delivery where he barely takes time to breathe or even allow the audience to digest what he’s saying. He also screams most of his act which, in my opinion, coupled with the rapid pace, is just Kilstein’s attempt to hide the fact that what he’s saying isn’t funny. Perhaps he believes that if a guy takes the stage with a mic in hand, and screams political commentary without pausing for air, the audience will just assume it must be funny. It’s not.
Skip this comedy CD. There’s plenty of other, much better, political comedy out there, regardless of your political leanings.
Other Jamie Kilstein Reviews
Please Buy My Jokes: First comedy CD introduces a very promising, deceptively smart comic.
Zombie Jesus: Excellent CD for those who like edgy comedy.
Libel, Slander, & Sedition - Joe Schneider review: A forgettable CD
Libel, Slander, & Sedition: Yelling does not rant comedy make.