Drive By Comedy is a good idea done almost right. This audiobook CD features excerpts from Wigfield by Amy Sedaris, Paul Dinello, and Stephen Colbert, Napalm & Silly Putty by George Carlin, Oh, The Things I Know! by Al Franken, I Think There’s A Terrorist In My Soup by David Brenner, and I’m The One That I Want by Margaret Cho.

All these audio book extracts are read by the author (except for Wigfield in which only Stephen Colbert is heard). The sound is excellent, the readings either great or pretty good, but the selections, in a couple of cases leave something to be desired and may not be the best representation of the author’s or authors’ work. As an audio book CD to listen to in the car, Drive By Comedy is pretty good, as a sampler, it is not bad.

The weak selection here is track one, a selection from Wigfield by Amy Sedaris, Paul Dinello, and Stephen Colbert. It is the first chapter of the book and two of the authors are not part of the reading. It is also the chapter where the fictional author of Wigfield, Russel Hoakes writes the fake resume that gets him a book contract. I am not convinced this is the best sample from Wigfield which many have described as an anti-Lake Wobegon.

George Carlin reads from Napalm & Silly Putty. This excerpt is the cats Vs. dogs chapter which is a must for any cat lover. Carlin also has a few short musings about common words and a few amusing observations. This selection also includes the read and slightly longer version of a track from one of his earlier stand-up comedy CDs, A Place For My Stuff titled Picky Eater.

The selection from Oh, The Things I Know! by Al Franken is also the first chapter of the book. Here, Franken (of Air America, Lies and Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair And Balanced Look At The Right, and Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot fame) tells why he is the best source for advice and recalls a couple of disastrous commencement addresses that are nicely rendered with an echoey sound effect. This selection makes you want to hear the rest of the book.

The David Brenner selection from I Think There’s A Terrorist In My Soup is the sex ed and sexual awakening section from the book and audiobook. This is not something you want to listen to with your kids in the car but it is quite funny and interesting.

Margaret Cho closes Drive By Comedy with the first chapter from I’m The One That I want. Although I have never been particularly impressed by Cho, who is a comic I believe makes up for weak material by screaming it out, this selection did catch my interest. If the rest of the book is like its opening chapter, this is a very dark autobiography but the humor is definitely there and subdued. Cho, who here is very restrained in her reading and does render other character’s voices quite nicely, does a very good job as a reader.

It would have been nice if the people who put together Drive By Comedy had been a bit more consistent in the presentation of the material. Some tracks open with the intro music and so on, Carlin opens with a couple of piano notes, while the segue from Franken to Brenner is nonexistent. I prefer the latter approach myself but some similarity from track to track would have been appreciated and make for a less jarring listening experience.

Drive By Comedy from HighBridge Audio is a pretty good audio book comedy CD to listen to in the car and pretty good comedy.

Drive By Comedy
Selections from George Carlin, Al Franken, David Brenner,
Margaret Cho, Stephen Colbert
Stand-up comedy CD
HighBridge Audio 2003
56 minutes

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