Last year comic and Morgan-Spurlock-movie-spoofing legend Doug Benson released an experimental double album called “Smug Life.” Read my review here. On that release, the experiment focused on the performer -- the first disc was Benson performing his act sober, while the second disc was Benson performing his act as high as he was able to get before the show.
Now, Joe DeRosa is set to release a double album called “You Will Die” on the BSeenMedia label. This album is also an experiment. But, whereas Benson’s album was an experiment focused on the performer, DeRosa’s album is an experiment focused on the audience. The first album is a proper comedy performance in front of a group of civilized people who came to the show to sit and enjoy an evening of stand-up comedy. The second album demonstrates what happens when a comic performs in front of an audience comprised of drunk douchebags who think it is their place to constantly interrupt and heckle the performer. MP3 album at Amazon
I loved it. Every minute of it.
This is DeRosa’s third album release, following the 2010 album “The Depression Auction” and the 2011 album “Return of the Son of the Depression Auction.” I have always liked DeRosa, and he just keeps getting better and better.
The first disc of this release is obviously the better disc, and it is routinely laugh-out-loud fantastic. In fact, this may make my personal Top 10 list of stand-up albums for this year. There are too many great bits on this album to discuss them all. But, to hit a few highlights, DeRosa’s bit about New York City is not to be missed. He begins by mentioning that he once saw a homeless person in New York City mumbling to himself “I am Michael Jackson.” He then began to wonder how someone would end up like that. What follows is something every stand-up comedy fan must listen to. DeRosa goes on a seemingly breathless rant about how New York City will rob you of your dreams and turn anyone into a street walking blob mumbling to himself/herself. Simply amazing.
Another highlight is a series of four tracks beginning with Track 10 (“God Joke”) and continuing through Track 13 (“Gimme Science”). These four tracks are roughly 23 minutes of material about science and the healthcare system in the United States. Brilliant.
The first disc concludes with a 12 minute bit about KFC chicken that surely gives Patton Oswalt’s infamous KFC Famous Bowl bit a run for its money.
The second disc is the drunken heckler disc. While it was very interesting, and while DeRosa is a master at dealing with hecklers, it was also hugely frustrating to listen to these self-entitled morons destroy a show … a show they paid money to see and hear.
Jim Norton has a bit on his new album “Please Be Offended” in which he discusses heckling. He, deservedly so, expresses his frustration at why stand-up comedy is the only art form where this type of behavior is allowed. No one would go to a museum and throw a towel over a painting they did not like. No one would go to a Broadway show and heckle the stage actors. Yet, for some unknown reason, people feel entitled to heckle a stand-up comic. It is not acceptable.
Some people suggest that heckling should be allowed because it is sometimes hilarious to hear a stand-up comic destroy the heckler. I will admit that it is sometimes fun to hear a comic put the heckler in his/her place. But, as a fan of stand-up comedy as an art form, I would be happy to never have to hear a comic put a heckler in place again. Comics spend a long time, often many years, developing an hour show. They perfect every single word, and come prepared to deliver that show to the audience. Heckling forces the comic to divert from his/her planned show, a show that was pieced together precisely how the comic wanted his/her fans to enjoy the performance. If the comic asks you a question, answer. Otherwise, just sit there, stay quiet (other than laughing, of course) and enjoy the show.
This second disc is good, but is not one that I will likely listen to repeatedly simply because it is not the show DeRosa wanted to perform. The first disc is one that will be listened to again, and again, and again. Great album.
Other Joe DeRosa Reviews
Return of the Son of Depression - MP3 album: is an average comedy MP3 album
You Let Me Down: Joe DeRosa takes aim at just about every social irritant and hits each one dead center on his new stand-up comedy MP3 album