Top Five with Alvin Williams
Top Five is a column in which we talk to stand up comics who have just released their own album about their five favorite comedy albums of all time.
Alvin Williams looks to deliver some cheer to the world with his new stand-up comedy album “I Hope You’re Happy“. Alvin is constantly traveling to entertain audiences in comedy clubs across the country, and sometimes things can get a little stressful for him out on the road. So we asked him to list the top 5 comedy albums that bring a little joy into his life when things on the road get tough, and he happily obliged. So here is Alvin Williams with his top 5 comedy albums.
Eddie Murphy is my all-time favorite comic. I wish he would have done more specials but considering his jokes are still hilarious 30 years later, I don’t blame him. My dad used to take me on a lot of road trips as a kid, and he would always buy tapes from the clearance section of video stores. I found this one, he bought it, and the rest is history. Still one of the most memorable road trips I ever had. We listened to the album 3 times! Everything that Eddie talked about I could relate to, and his impressions were so perfect! I still can’t look at Mr. T, Ricky Ricardo or Ralph Kramden without thinking of this album. A must-have even now!
First and Foremost, I think all of George Carlin’s albums could have been my Top 5. To me he is the best comedic writer the world has ever produced. He can do anything with any subject and any audience. I chose this album because it was the first time I had heard a comedy album without an audience. I’ve always wanted to do one of these myself, but I would probably need to put out 50 years of genius first before people would buy it, soooo….I’ll wait. Carlin’s genius is on full display in this album, and I appreciate it even more because it’s like he’s going over the written jokes in a notebook before he has to convert them to an audience-friendly presentation. That’s the way we all really want to present the joke, in its purest form. Every time I hear it I feel smarter!
I love Seinfeld’s work, because it’s laugh out loud funny, but also clean. When I think of the perfect set, this one comes to mind. I heard it on audio first before I saw this performance on HBO. I was in high school when I first heard this and it was the first time I heard a comic and went “That’s EXACTLY what I was thinking! I thought it was just ME.” He’s the gold standard in mainstream comedy that appeals to everyone and this album is a testament to his hard work. Plus I love the concept of “retiring” material and never using it again. I’ve tried to retire material but sometimes I’m on the road and a joke is WAY too perfect not to use. Kudos Jerry, hope you do another one soon!
Chris Rock is the guy I tried to model myself after: Be funny AND have something important to say. His social commentary is so spot on it just blows my mind how somebody can be that funny and that socially relevant all at the same time! I’ve watched all of Chris Rock’s specials but this is the only album I owned. I actually bought it because of the Champagne Song. SO FUNNY. Watch the video on your lunch break and it will be stuck in your head the rest of the day! Also, this album has the best bit to end all bits: Not sure where this publication is being sent, so for the sake of not being censored, I’ll just say it’s the bit where he differentiates between the various types of black people.
Dane Cook in my opinion was a victim of his own whirlwind success. He’s viewed now as if he was this all-energy but no substance comic, and that’s the furthest thing from the truth. I think over time it just became cool to not like Dane Cook. But I was always a Dane Cook fan and I cannot deny the influence this album had on me. My college roommate had this playing in his car and it reminded me of when I first heard the Eddie Murphy Comedian album. Playing the tracks over and over again. This is the album that made me want to do stand-up. Not just a fantasy of being a comic, but actually getting on a stage and DOING it. This album was perfect. PERFECT. I still tell stories “Tarantino Style” in my everyday life because of this album. It’s just BETTER that way! I hope that 20 years from now people won’t be jealous of Dane’s rapid success and appreciate the body of work he has put forth. Anyway, if you’re just a Dane-hater but you’ve never heard him, this is truly worth a listen!