Paul F. Tompkins is a phenomenal comic. Period. End of story.
Tompkins truly has a unique voice -- a completely original way of looking at the world, and a very distinctive manner of speaking. It is for these reasons, coupled obviously with being hilarious, that Tompkins is one of my favorite comics working today. Tompkins has a way of making even the setups to jokes funny, simply because of his use of language. As an example, on a previous stand-up comedy special he has a bit where he talks about how people dress up as characters from movies and walk around on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. He mentions that there were two people that would dress up as Spiderman. One was great; he had the full costume and moved like Spiderman. Then, there was a second one … who “needn’t have bothered.” That is not going to translate well to written word on paper, and that is sort of my point. Tompkins is so brilliant at his craft, that just the way he voices “he needn’t have bothered” is laugh-out-loud hysterical.
Tompkins last special, You Should Have Told Me, was great, but was very personal. He spoke at length about the loss of his mother. It was a funny special, but the subject matter was very heavy. Therefore, I was excited when I found out that he had this new special in the works, and was even more excited when I got my hands on a copy.
On Laboring Under Delusions, Tompkins sticks to a singular theme for the entire 75 minute special -- namely, his various “non-standup” jobs that he has had throughout his life. Some of those topics include working in a video store where he supplemented his income by stealing videos on a daily basis, and working in a hat shop where multiple customers asked puzzlingly to try on the “king hat” rather than the “crown.” One of my favorite bits was his story about his small role in the movie There Will Be Blood, with a close second being his dealings with Weird Al Yankovic while trying to film an episode of Best Week Ever.
The stand-up comedy DVD comes with a couple of bonus features, including an approximately 15 minute encore (giving you a total of 90 minutes of PFT hilarity), and an episode of his podcast, cleverly titled the Pod F. Tompkast.
This Comedy Central DVD is definitely recommended.Comedy Central CD and DVD Reviews Page