Michael Ian Black
Stand-up Comedy CD
Comedy Central Records 2011
If you’ve ever seen the comedy group Stella, than you already have a pretty good idea about what Michael Ian Black’s humor is like. The trio, which includes Black, is very wacky, very over-the-top, very physical, and very funny. Michael Ian Black takes this same kind of comedy to his stand-up. MP3 album at Amazon
One of the best things Black does is misdirection. He does it rarely enough to make it unexpected, which is exactly what it should be. A lot of times comedians rely solely on misdirection, and about halfway through the set, it gets really old and predictable. Not so with Black; he does it sparingly.
There will be times where you may think Black is taking the material too far or being too profane, but he is careful not to put any of these spots too close together, so the audience is never over-alienated. And he’s not crude just for the sake of being crude. He does it because it works so incredibly in tune with the misdirection he’s pulling.
The low-points of this comedy CD are when Black uses physical humor. It’s pretty obvious why this is so unappealing on an audio album. It’s forgivable for comedians to use physical humor as the sole premise of a joke once or twice on a CD or to use it to guide the viewing audience along with the spoken jokes, but Black at several points in the album relies too heavily on it. There are too many points where he says “like this…” and does some motion that the live audience loves, but is completely lost on the CD listener. It’s about as enjoyable as being on the outside of a “you had to be there” story.
Besides that criticism, Very Famous has a lot to offer in terms of goofy stories. Almost his entire set is story-driven with funny lines and jokes to fill it. The stories themselves are usually just silly enough to be a stand-alone joke, but Black’s commentary almost always pushes it over the top to create a quality track.
If you like Stella or Michael Ian Black already, than this will be a very enjoyable album. If you’ve never heard of them, then you should definitely listen to Very Famous to test the waters.
- 91Banal stand-up
- 78Pretty decent comedy CD by comic who needs a bit more life experience.
- 75Excellent laid-back smooth stand-up
- 75recorded in 1990 and maybe funny 21 years ago
- 73A great stand-up comedy CD. Black at the top of his game.