ARTIST: Woody Allen
ALBUM: Standup Comic
As an act of semi-contrition, I promised my friends that I'd re-listen and re-appraise the works of both. I dutifully took out my dusty copies of both Bill Hicks' Hate Rants in E-Minor and Denis Leary's breakthrough opus No Cure for Cancer (which I originally saw him perform live in a tiny club in the West Village). I ripped both to my iPod and spent the next couple of days re-listening to them on walks to work. Honestly speaking, there are still hugely funny moments on both, but neither have aged particularly well. Frankly, while I think Hicks' work was assuredly bold, endearingly provocative and ahead of its time, there is a sanctimonious and preachy quality that often marred even his best bits. Leary, by contrast, seemed guilty at the time of injecting much of his comedy with an exaggerated mania (see also Lewis Black) that similarly detracts from the otherwise insightful impact of the material.
Once I'd digested both, though, I forgot about returning to the original debate and re-discovered more of my spoken-word comedy albums. I've unwittingly amassed a number of great albums over the years by comedians like Dana Gould, Patton Oswalt, Gilbert Gottfried, George Carlin and the like, and it had been eons since I listened to any of this stuff. While I still smiled or quietly chuckled to a few of the bits on the Hicks and Leary discs, some of this stuff had me practically crying. While in the midst of a drawn-out David Cross monologue from his 2002 album, Shut Up You Fucking Baby, I was laughing so hard on my walk home from work that someone actually mistook me for weeping uncontrollably and asked if I needed help.
In any case, here's one of my re-discovered favorite bits that is quintessentially New York, and being that so much of the content on this blog is so NYCentric, it seemed like the bit to highlight. From the Standup Comic album, here's Woody Allen (back when he was funny).