What a difference an audience makes. Houston, We Have A Problem shows Greg Proops (of Whose Line Is It Anyways fame) is wickedly smart comic who is not afraid to challenge his audience and have them rise to it.  On his other stand-up comedy CD Joke Book,  recorded in Minnesota, he comes across as a garrulous comic out to show the audience how wrong they are about not appreciating his jokes. To quote Greg Proops reviewing his own show, “In this critic’s opinion, he was a breath of fresh air. Houston has never seemed more lively. God bless this bespectacled man from the west coast.

You have to give it to Proops. On Houston, We Have A Problem he immediately starts satirizing everything Texans hold dear: George Bush, the sanctity of marriage, the pledge of allegiance, and God. He does go off track for a viciously funny attack on Siegfried and Roy and even meaner jabs at the latest Mrs. Paul McCartney. When the audience groans its discomfort, Greg Proops responds in his typical fashion, “I have no time for your judgment. My jokes are marvelously constructed with hilarious surprise and inexplicable endings. It would behoove you to get on board…..” While comments like this were aggressive on Joke Book, here they are simply part of the fun and challenge.

It is the quality of the gauntlet Proops smacks his audience with that makes this stand-up comedy really work. “I like women and Black people so I’m not a big country fan” is something few comics would dare say on a Houston stage and even less get away with. But early on this comedian has established not only that he is in full control of the evening but that he also respects his audience (something he failed to do on his other comedy CD) even if he has to explain sarcasm to it.

Other targets of Greg Proops’ rapier with include God, country music icons Lee Greenwood, Toby Keith, Rush Limbaugh, and the war on terror. His take on Reality TV and Jessica Simpson rises above the usual stuff on the topics. The one cheap laugh on this CD is when he cannot help but do the Lord Of The Rings “precious” reference few comics have been able to avoid.

If you like dark, smart comedy that can be a little challenging, you are going to like Houston, We Have A Problem by Greg Proops. This stand-up comedy CD was also released in the UK as Live In Houston.

Greg Proops
Houston, We Have A Problem
Stand-up Comedy CD
Stand Up! Records
50 minutes

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