Caffeinated, the stand-up comedy CD by Jonathan Katz of Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist fame, is an unusual CD. Katz' low-key delivery of his sometimes cerebral humor and the material itself give Caffeinated a beat poet coffee house feel that might take more casual comedy fans a little getting used to. After all, this stand-up credits playwright David Mamet for some of his material.
Those who have Woody Allen's Standup Comic will immediately feel comfortable with Jonathan Katz Caffeinated, especially during the first few tracks of this comedy CD. Not that Katz is an imitator but his angst-ridden, self-deprecating, slightly surreal humor, and delivery will remind many of Allen's style. Also, he occasionally inserts a Jewish joke here and there that has that signature to it.
Katz is a very eclectic comic and it shows on this CD. There are a couple of musical numbers, some funny phone call bits, and a very strange, daring perhaps, and unusual routine where the stand-up comedian gets a member of the audience to play a part in a scripted Late Show With David Letterman. There is not much Letterman and more late night talk show to this bit and I am still not sure it works.
I am not a big fan of funny phone call comedy but Katz is pretty good at it. One thing I did appreciate about A Collect Call From The Pope, Three Hobbies, and Was I A Funny Kid is that they are a rare instance where you can clearly hear both sides of the conversation. Fortunately, he does not milk the material and these are not your usual dumb-ass phone calls.
What I really enjoy about Katz' Caffeinated CD is that he can surprise you and it is an intelligent surprise. A perfect example is the last track, In Closing, where he briefly talks about his early days in stand-up comedy opening for a much, much bigger act.
Jonathan Katz Caffeinated is a variety pack of different comedy genres (including a couple of really, really bad but funny puns) that is quite different from your usual run of the mill stuff. The liner notes mention this CD was recorded in different places on different nights which might explains its eclectic feel somewhat but the perfect sound quality on this recording belies the idea it was done over time as you never, ever feel the switch of venue or audience.
When added to a collection of some four hundred stand-up comedy CDs Caffeinated certainly stands out. I will be popping it in the player from time to time when I feel like listening to something different.