Doug Benson is back with his yearly stand-up comedy CD, which he, as the reigning king of stoner comics, records every April 20, or 420. My review of his two previous albums, Gateway Doug and Smug Life are linked here below.

Gateway Doug 2: Forced Fun is, as Benson explains, a “sequel” to last year’s comedy album Gateway Doug, an idea he developed while watching the plethora of recent movie sequels that have been released.

Before diving in to the meat of this review, I will start by saying I am a huge fan of Benson.  I have all of his albums, and have seen him live many times.  I get markedly excited every time I get my hands on a new album from him.

With that caveat out of the way, I will now say that I am a little disappointed with this new album.  In fact, I would have been more than just a little disappointed with the new album were it not for the fact that Benson opens the album admitting it won’t be very good.  Odd approach, to say the least.  Benson basically says that Gateway Doug 2 is a sequel and, like all sequels, it won’t be as good as the original.  But, he claims that is alright because he won’t charge as much for it.  If he was being sarcastic and then proceeded to deliver a brilliant hour of material, that would be one thing.  Unfortunately, I think that truly was just an honest assessment of the album.

The most recent batch of Benson comedy albums all follow the same formula: open by reading Tweets, shift into some random bits with a heavy focus on movies and getting high, and close by reading more Tweets.  This album is no exception, and the formula is getting tired.  The album opens with more than 14 minutes of him reading Tweets.  To make things even more awkward, in addition to his admission that this album will not be as good as the original Gateway Doug album, he also admits that reading Tweets during a live act upsets some people, and that some people will skip those tracks entirely while listening to the album.  If he knows this album is not as good as last year’s album, and he knows that people are growing tired of hearing him read Tweets, why release this album in this form?  While his fans have come to somewhat expect an album every April 20, churning out new material every year is an almost impossible feat.  As I mentioned at the outset, I am a huge fan of Benson, and was expecting a new album on April 20, but I absolutely would have preferred to wait for a better album.

Lest those seemingly harsh words be interpreted to mean that this comedy album has no redeeming value, let me be clear — this album does have a lot of funny bits and quite a few laughs throughout.  It is Doug Benson, after all.  As the cliché goes, Benson could be funny reading the telephone book (assuming those still exist).

So, if you are already a Doug Benson fan, go ahead and pick this up.  You will anyway, regardless of what I say in this review.  If you are not already a fan of Benson, picking any of his prior six albums would be a much, much better choice.

Gateway Doug 2: Forced Fun
Doug Benson
Comedy CD and MP3
aspecialthing records 2014

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