Every month, Sean Sullivan combs the internet to catalog all the new comedy albums and specials that come out. He tries to find patterns and mark trends and talk smarter than he is about it. Then he tells you his five favorites for the month. Then he tells you about an album you probably never heard of. Then he goes to sleep.
In December 2014, I assigned myself the task of listening to every new comedy album and watching every new comedy special and then writing a monthly post-mortem.
I’ve already failed.
I tried. I really did. By my count, there were 16 comedy albums and specials that premiered in January 2015 and I got to 11 of them by the time of this writing. I’ve already failed you, person who didn’t know I was doing this for you. I am sorry. Nobody hates me more than me so please don’t beat me up for this.
Skip to the end of this column to see the list of what came out if you’re not interested in reading my dumb thoughts.
The biggest news of the month was the surprise release of Louis CK’s new special. If you count his out of print first album, Live at the Comedy Store is Louis’s 8th special but the first taped in a comedy club since that long lost first album, Live in Houston, released in 2001. The most interesting thing about this special to me is the return to the comedy club. It was a trend all over the specials released this month. Louis accompanied the news of his surprise special with a long love letter to comedy clubs. Dave Attell made Road Work last year and that highlighted four very distinct clubs and showed him more in his element than anything he’s down since Insomniac. It was almost like a reminder: “Oh shit! We can film in clubs!”
Robert Kelly released Live at the Village Underground. Nick DiPaolo shot his special at the Acme Comedy Club in Minneapolis. Ari Shaffir filmed his special at the Comedy Store. It’s not uncommon for audio comedy records to be recorded in comedy clubs. Stand Up Records and Rooftop Records have been keeping this trend alive for years. The energy is higher and the comics are looser. But for televised specials, the trend has always been that bigger is better. Put a comic in a giant theater, fill it with people, and suddenly, that comic looks like he fills big theaters. I don’t know if the trend to film in comedy clubs will continue but it’s refreshing for now.
And now… my five favorites for the month:
Kyle Kinane “I Liked His Old Stuff Better”
Louis CK Live at the Comedy Store
Brooks Wheelan This is Cool, Right?
Robert Kelly Live at the Village Underground
Joe DeVito First Date with Joe DeVito
It was a loaded month and these were my five favorite. My favorite thing about listening to comedy records is when you’re taken by surprise. With someone like Kyle Kinane, it’s impossible to predict where he is going to go with his comedy. He starts talking about drinking in the shower and then we’re off. I’m a Kyle Kinane fan and it’s precisely because with each new idea he presents, I’m excited to see where we end up.
Sometimes you’re surprised because you have no expectations. The only thing I knew about Brooks Wheelan was that he was only on one season of SNL and the only thing I knew about Joe DeVito was that I had no idea who Joe DeVito was. Both of these albums are really funny. Brooks is a young, energetic guy who very clearly loves what he’s been able to do with his life. There isn’t a comic that put out a record this month that’s having as much fun as Brooks. And Joe DeVito put out an album full of jokes. His act almost has an old school vibe as we move further into the age of comic as personality. Joe gets by on one piling one tight joke on top of another.
And sometimes you’re surprised because you think you have an idea of what a comic is about and then you’re proven wrong. For some reason, I had written Robert Kelly off and that reason is because I’m a fucking idiot. He is the real deal. This was a great special and I’m definitely excited to see what he does next.
Also Louis CK released a new special.
And the Who? Album of the Month goes to…
Neko White Introducing Me
I don’t know who the fuck Neko White is but he put out an album and it’s really funny. It’s long but it’s funny. I have not done any further research on Neko. I think he’s only 21 but he’s as confident as any other comic on this list. Give his record a listen. He’s definitely going to be somebody I keep an eye on.
So that was it. That was the first column I wrote that nobody cared about. If you want to talk comedy, email me at SeanS272@gmail.com or find me on twitter @MrSeanSullivan. You can also use both of those to tell me to fuck myself or let me know of any releases I might have missed and if you liked this, let me know that too.
Comedy Albums and Specials for January 2015
Robert Kelly, Live at the Village Underground
Joe DeVito, First Date with Joe DeVito
Erik Myers, Basket Case
Kevin Bartini, The Unintentionally White Album
Ryan Drake, Drinking Games for One Person
Christina Pazsitsky, Man of the Year
Neko White, Introducing Me
Ari Shaffir, Paid Regular
Vincent Holiday, Too Soon
Thomas Dale, Love, Me
Kyle Kinane, “I Liked His Old Stuff Better”
Iliza Schlesinger, Freezing Hot
Nick DiPaolo, Another Senseless Killing
Adam Newman, Killed
Brooks Wheelan, This is Cool, Right?
Louis CK, Live at the Comedy Store