I have been a rabid fan of stand-up comedy for several decades and, because I watch, download, and listen to such a tremendous volume of stand-up comedy, I often find myself thinking that I must be familiar with every single working stand-up comic.

Of course, that’s a ridiculous thought, as it would be technically impossible to be familiar with every person working in any industry.  Despite realizing the absurdity of that thought, it is a recurring one.

Time for some honesty and self-deprecation.  I fell victim to that thought when I heard about a new stand-up album by comic Johnny Taylor called “Tangled Up In Plaid.”  Johnny Taylor?  Never heard of him.  And if I haven’t heard of him, he must not be very good.  A conclusion that is equal parts naive and ludicrous.  But, I thought to myself, it’s on the Stand Up! Records label, and that label routinely features top quality recordings from top quality comics, so I’ll give it a shot.  Aren’t I generous?

Track one, titled “Affliction.”  Taylor starts talking about not liking people who wear Affliction t-shirts.  Swap out the word “Affliction” with “Ed Hardy” and I think to myself, oh geez, here we go again with this tired bit.  Boy was I wrong.  Taylor immediately took it in a new direction, and had some jokes about the shirts (or, more appropriately, the people who wear those shirts) that had me doubled over laughing.

My thought process changed immediately.  This guy is pretty darn good; let’s strap in and go along for the ride.  Next track — titled “Ugly” — Taylor talks about having a lazy eye.  Hilarious.  Next track, funny.  Next track, funny.  Next track, funnier than the last.  I am laughing a lot, and laughing HARD, at material from a comic who, just moments earlier, I had sort of written off for no valid reason.

Taylor is an absolute master of misdirection.  The setups are well done, and many of the punchlines go in directions you will never see coming.  For example, in one of my favorite jokes from the set, Taylor talks about how he had a lot of anxiety as a kid.  He would often lay awake at night, sweating, wondering what would happen if his parents died.  Now, he says, his parents are dead so …. “needless to say, that’s a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.  I can finally catch some fucking Z’s.”  The audience erupts with laughter, as did I.

The entire set clocks in at just a hair under an hour, and concludes with a nearly 11 minute bit about getting a colonic.  A great, hilarious story.

I definitely know Taylor’s name now.  I look forward to more from this comic, and will be keeping my eye out to see if he ever performs live near me.  Lesson learned.

Tangled Up in Plaid in on Stand Up! Records

Tangled Up In Plaid
Johnny Taylor
Comedy download Album
Stand Up! Records 2014


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