Kyle Cease certainly has an unusual approach to stand-up comedy. To say that his comedy is “unique” would be a massive understatement. However you classify it, it is funny, and that is pretty much all that really matters. With “I Highly Recommend This,” Cease is back with his third stand-up comedy CD from Comedy Central Records. MP3 album at Amazon
One of Cease’s real strengths is audience interaction. He creates both an aura of “friendship” with the audience through normal interactions, and has a knack for dealing with hecklers that is frequently hilarious.
However, be prepared to be confused by some of his jokes. Cease likes to find the line where he crosses into absurdity, and then sprint right past it. And, the bigger the reaction he gets from the audience, the more he continues to push those limits. If the audience responds to and likes the weird stuff, he tests them by going even more obscure and random.
Rather than just doing weird comedy, though, Cease has taken to actually acknowledging that his comedy is weird. He tells the audience at one point that by laughing and cheering for the weird stuff, they are only encouraging him to be even weirder. Indeed, track 10 is entitled “Bits The Mainstream Will Think Are Really Weird.”
I sort of liken this to the recent breed of comics that take the stage and tell the audience how edgy they are going to be -- “folks, you better be ready for this, because if you can’t take what I’m about to unleash, you might as well leave the club right now.” Then, they proceed to dive into the same recycled material we have all heard a thousand times. Don’t tell us you’re going to be edgy. Just be edgy. With Cease, don’t tell us you’re going to be weird, just be weird.
Despite those seemingly negative criticisms, there are a lot of laughs to be had on this album. Cease is very comfortable on stage, and his confidence in his material is transparent. He has a bit called “revamping a classic” in which he takes a joke from one of his prior albums and transforms it into a longer bit. Although the additions to the bit do not add much to the joke, the pre-recorded introduction to this bit is very funny.
One of the weaker tracks on this album is track 3 entitled “They Points At Them.” This is largely a visual joke that falls flat on CD. There are actually three different versions of the visual joke, which Cease then acknowledges will fall flat on CD, and even ponders whether or not he should edit out a couple of those versions. While that statement is good for a chuckle, that entire track could easily have been pulled from the album.
All in all, this is an average to above-average album that will not disappoint.
The CD version of I Highly Recommend This comes with a Bonus DVD with Cease's Comedy Central Presents special and video shorts.
Other Kyle Cease Reviews
One Dimple: Good college circuit stand-up comic
Weirder Blacker Dimpler: I wish Kyle Cease had more to say and said something more often instead of mostly surfing on such a superficial train of thought powered by poop jokes.