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Top Five with Mike Brody

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.

Everyone has a friend like Mike Brody. BRODY_Forblog He’s the buddy that manages to stay cool under pressure, despite a clumsy manner and instinctive sense of humor that keeps everyone around him in stitches.  They may not always be around when you need them most, but like all great humorist they’re always right on time.  Mike has spent his entire stand up career aiming to perfect the art of comedic timing, so when he lists his top 5 comedy albums it’s sure to have a few comics so good you could set a watch by them. So without further delay here’s Mike Brody with his Top 5 Comedy Albums Of All Time and remember, you’re on the clock. Go!

MITCH HEDBERG – “Strategic Grill Locations/Mitch All Together”

I started comedy in the early 2000s in Iowa, and I remember thinking that most of the comics that came through my home club were super antiquated and hacky.  So whenever I had a small one-nighter gig, you’d hear club/bar owners talking about how Hedberg had been there years before and bombed the hardest anybody has ever bombed.  But always, without exception, they’d say “But I knew he’d be famous!”  Sure you did!  All the dive-bar owners in Brainerd had the eye for talent!  That’s what I love about Mitch.  He did it his way until people couldn’t deny him anymore.  Before Hedberg, comedy had kind of lost it’s goofiness. It was a bit stale.”Is this all there is?” I thought.  It was pre-Youtube.  Then I saw Hedberg’s Comedy Central special and my mind was blown.  Yogurt jokes!  Koala bears!  WHAT?!  I must have played Strategic Grill Locations 100,000 times.  Then I actually got to be in the audience for the recording of Mitch All Together.  Play those two albums back to back…you can actually hear the difference between the effects of marijuana and cocaine when you do it.  I still get sad that he’s dead.  We need him.

 

BILL HICKS – “Sane Man”

Can I count this as an album?  It’s a VHS, but I think it’s up on Youtube.  This was my first exposure to Hicks.  People have copied and watered him down so much now that newer comics can’t grasp how different he was.  So many “edgy” comics have aped his style that if you watch it now, it seems kind of ordinary.  BUT THIS WAS 1989!  Think about what was happening comedically in 1989. There were geniuses, but there were also a lot of airplane peanuts. Now consider that Hicks was doing flag-burning jokes in front of mulletheads in Texas. He was ahead of his time and (for better or worse) changed the tone of comedy forever.  Plus, those weird psychedelic screens and pauses in the video tripped me out.

 

BILL BURR – “Let It Go”

Hey, he’s alive!  I was admittedly late to the game with Bill Burr.  Everybody kept raving about how funny he was and I just never got around to listening to him. Then one day I got the CD/DVD of Let It Go.  I was driving home from a road gig, so I put the CD on and loved it.  And yet I couldn’t figure out something about him.  He was hilarious, but how was he getting these people to like him so much?  The jokes were so wonderfully evil.  Then I got home and put the DVD in.  OH, I GET IT!  He smiles!  He’s charming!  He shrugs his shoulders!  Bill Burr is a master at being the winking asshole.  Not literally, of course.  That would be weird.  I mean that he’s the asshole that we all respect and want to be.  Also, his podcast is magnificent.  Bill Burr equally brings me joy and sadness.  Joy because he’s at the peak of his genius right now and sadness because GODDAMNIT I wish I was that good.  He gets my vote for best in the business right now.

 

MIKE BIRBIGLIA – “My Secret Public Journal”

Holy shit, I don’t know if there’s a better storyteller today than Mike Birbiglia. Joey Bag-o-Donuts, the story about the cancer benefit, the Roger Clemens story!  They’re all gold.  The dude’s a master at being so likeable.  He could tell a story about helping Jerry Sandusky break out of prison and he’d win us over.  We’d be like “Go! Go Mike! Set him free!”  Telling a great story isn’t about just droning on and then having a big punch line at the end.  It’s like kicking a ball up a hill.  You got to keep tapping it the whole way or else it’s going to roll backwards.  Birbiglia has that on lock-down.  His stories are hilarious from beginning to end, and he still manages to have the endings have a big payoff.  Really, I’m in awe of this guy.  And if you haven’t seen his movie “Sleepwalk With Me”, you need to yesterday.

 

JOE DEROSA – “The Depression Auction”

I don’t want to sound jaded, but after you do comedy awhile you kind of stop wanting to hear comedy every day.  It’s not that you don’t still love it, but it’s like The Matrix.  You see “the code”; you appreciate it, and even enjoy it.  But you don’t laugh out loud anymore.  At best, you think in your head “Oh wow, that’s really funny” with a stoneface. Joe Derosa’s “The Depression Auction” had me laughing my ass off.  I literally LOLed.  There’s just something about east coast comics.  They have a swagger that you have to be raised with.  The one about how he’s politically stupid but easily lead, the one about doing comedy at an Insane Clown Posse concert, the one about how nobody wants to go to your wedding: brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.  He’s a loser and a winner.  He’s a dick, but he’s vulnerable.  Aren’t we all?

 

Mike Brody’s album, That’s Not What I Meant, was released on April 24th, 2012 on Rooftop Comedy Productions. It is available on AmazoniTunes, and Bandcamp.

Top Five with Michael Palascak

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.

palascak_Forblog

There are many typical characters in stand-up comedy.  The zanies, the self depreciating, the truth seekers and the truth tellers.   Michael Palascak sits amongst a dying breed of  character, that of the good guy.  Innocent in his faults with a glass is half full attitude,  Michael’s nature on stage is always likable if not lovable.  In this installment of our comedians on comedians segment, where comics offer us their “Top 5 Comedy Albums Of All Time”, we find out where the good guys go for good comedy.   Mike, give us the good stuff:

5. Tommy Johnagin – Stand-up Comedy 2.

He kills it.  It’s really funny, original.  I love the story about his sister being lost.  Tommy is so good at having a premise and then having many funny things to say about the premise.

 

 

 

 

4. Mitch Hedburg – Strategic Grill Locations

His jokes are so funny, random, and true to himself that it just really appealed to me. He was the inspirational genius of my generation of comics.  The Pringles joke and the tennis joke as well as many others are memorable on this album.

 
 
 
 
 

3. Jerry Seinfeld.   I’m Telling You For The Last Time

I love his confidence.  I love his story about trick-or-treating.  And it’s clean.  I listened to it with my dad on the way to college and it was so cool sharing that with him.  I think that’s one of the reasons I’m pretty clean.  I want families to be able to share moments by listening to my stand-up.

 
 
 
 
 

2. Louis C.K. – Chewed Up

This had a similar impact that my #1 did.  It re-inspired me to think about stand-up differently.  What hit me the first time I listened was how natural Louis was with his jokes and how much fun he was having.  I loved the Cinnabon joke and the observation about masturbation was beautiful.

 
 
 
 
 

1. Mitch Hedburg – Mitch All Together

I remember being home from college for the summer and sitting in my room and listening to this.  There was like a white C.D. player my mom had that I listened to it on.  I had bunk beds.  It was hot because it was upstairs and the air conditioning didn’t work that well up there.  I put it on to listen to while I cleaned out my closet and I don’t think I cleaned out anything.  I just laughed so hard.  That was about the time that I started doing stand-up.

 
 

Don’t forget to heck out Michael Palasack’s latest stand-up comedy CD “Job Opening” available on iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp, and all major streaming services.

Top Five with Vince Carone

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.

If you are unfamiliar with Vince Carone’s style of comedy lets describe him as a simple man, with simple ideas, to keep the rest of us crazy bastards from ruining this party called life.

Outspoken, brash, and unapologetic Vince isn’t afraid to speak his mind even if it might offend a few listeners. This begs the question what does Vince put into his brain to inspire such controversial work. Here at Rooftop we answer all the tough questions, so here is Vince Carone with his top 5 comedy albums of all time.  The floor is all yours Vince:

 

5. Doug Stanhope – Beer Hall Putsch  

Doug Stanhope holds the title when it comes to poignant, relentless, non-apologetic, in-your-face humor. His ability to thrash through topics with his blunt opinions is second-to-none. One of my favorite things in regards to his comedy is the sheer quantity of it. Not only do I thoroughly appreciate his stand-up, I also greatly appreciate the fact that he continues to deliver fresh material every year or every other year. Beer Hall Putsch is his latest comedic assault that encompasses bits that other comics wouldn’t go near. Listen to his tale of truth regarding his mom’s suicide and then tell me that you’re afraid to try one of the new bits that you thought of. This is one-hour of non-stop genius writing that only Stanhope could pull off. This album is what stand-up should be!

 

4. Richard Jeni – Greatest Bits 

Richad Jeni is a rare find in the comedy world. He is a comedian that every comic knows, but yet, you ask the average person who he is and unfortunately you’re left going “Jim Carrey’s friend in the movie The Mask”. For a man who had 4 TV specials between Showtime and HBO, he never became the household name that he deserved to be. Richard Jeni had natural comedic timing and knew how to milk a bit for everything it was worth. In his Greatest Bits CD you get to experience Richard Jeni delivering all of the fan favorites. This CD is special for me as I remember listening to this with my family growing up and just laughing together – generations spanning from me as a kid, to my parents, to my grandparents – we all laughed and then really got a treat when we got to see him live in 2003.

 

3. Bill Burr – Let It Go 

Right out of the gate on this CD Bill Burr goes into a rant on why he’s “pro swine-flu” and the laughs just don’t stop. I’ve been a ranting comedian for years and then I watched Bill Burr and it made me wonder why I even try. As comedians we like to hold our pride in high regard and don’t always give credit where credit is due – but I want to go on record saying that every time that I heard Bill Burr go into his bit about “Being a Mother”, I am nothing but jealous that I didn’t think of it or anything like it. To be able to take a topic like that and beat it down to the point of saying (I’m paraphrasing) “women give being a mother too much credit” and have the ladies in the audience cracking up, takes an extreme talent…and that’s what Bill Burr is, an extreme talent.

 

2. Dennis Miller – Black & White 

Ok, so I know this isn’t on a CD – but I did own it on VHS which ought to count. This is my absolute favorite material that Dennis Miller has come out with. It took me a long time when I was younger to catch on to Dennis’ cadence with his delivery, but once I got it, I got it big time. Anytime that I quote Dennis Miller, I find myself defaulting to his opening bit here regarding impressionists that always paint Jack Nicholson into mundane situations: “can you imagine if Jack Nicholson were a produce clerk at a grocery store?” ‘No, f*ck you, YOU I can imagine as a produce clerk at a grocery store, now let’s not take the world’s highest paid actor and have him spritzing a bag of turnips for $2.95 an hour’. Dennis has been dubbed “The King of Pop…Culture” and this release is proof on why. I watch this knowing Dennis was only a few years older than I am now when he recorded it and he was light years ahead of me as a comedian.

 

1. George Carlin – It’s Bad For Ya 

George Carlin is my favorite comedian of all time (with Doug Stanhope in at a close second) and I really enjoyed this final album of his. I run into Carlin fans that tell me how they loved his early stuff but he got too angry for them as time went on. I ended up on the opposite end here; the more angry and cynical that Carlin got, the more I liked him. This CD is a 70-year old comedian exploring the thought process that only somebody with that much life experience could produce. I love listening to the bit about questioning societal norms such as: taking off your hat. The casual listener hears that and thinks that Carlin is bitching about a hat…but if you listen, it’s just about removing the “control” in this country and not conforming to stuff that doesn’t make sense just because people before you and around you accept it. Carlin is a comedic prophet (a term I’m sure he’d hate), he really teaches as much as he entertains. Carlin’s comedic method is what got me into comedy, what has kept me in comedy, and what I will always strive for. Question everything, accept nothing, and remember “It’s all bad for ya”.

 

Have fun and enjoy the ride!

 

Vince Carone’s album, No Complaints, was released on July 29th, 2014 on Rooftop Comedy Productions. It is available on Amazon, iTunes, and Bandcamp.