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Top Five with Adam Newman

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.

Adam Newman is an odd specimen. Not just for his creative headshot choices, but also in the way that he always seems to be in the right place at the right time – or wrong time depending on your feelings. Newman has a knack for finding himself among some of the more bizarre crowds a comic could imagine – from stumbling upon cocaine in a heckler’s jacket to being trash talked by police mid-set and mid-arresting of an audience member. His enthusiastic, playful, and pun-centric performances emit the feeling of fun and recall simpler times when you were free to laugh at anything – diarrhea jokes included. Fresh off the heels of a Comedy Central half-hour special, we had the pleasure of working with him again on his new album, Killed. We took a moment to pick Adam’s brain about some albums that shaped his affinity for the more peculiar sides of comedy.

 

George Carlin – Class Clown

This is the first comedy record I ever heard. My mom gave me her whole record collection when I was so young, I used to play them on my Playskool record player. I don’t think Playskool ever intended for a 7-year-old to listen to Carlin’s “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” on one of their players, but I swear it happened. This is the album that got me into comedy.

 

 

 

Adam Sandler – What the Hell Happened to Me?

This one just barely gets the edge over They’re All Gonna Laugh at You! I was obsessed with these albums when I was a kid. My parents had only heard “The Chanukah Song” and “Lunchlady Land,” so they had no idea what dirty, filthy comedy they were letting their 12-year-old listen to. Although, they did give me Carlin years earlier… Most of my childhood after this point was dedicated to imitating Sandler’s “goat” and “cock-and-balls-grandma.”

 

 

Dave Attell – Skanks for the Memories

I mean it’s a perfect stand-up record. It captures a rowdy, late night comedy club audience being bombarded with perfect joke after perfect joke by a comedian who can handle anything thrown at him.

 

 

 

 

Team Submarine – Glass Matthew

This album is pure silliness all the way through. I love comedy that isn’t afraid of puns or pubes or poop. And the track where you discover where the album name came from is one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard recorded.

 

 

 

 

Matt McCarthy – Come Clean

Matt was probably the first person I actually knew to release an album. This was back when I worked at CollegeHumor, and Matt came by our offices to drop off a stack for the whole staff. I popped it into my laptop and couldn’t believe someone I actually knew was capable of making a record as good as my favorite “big-names.”  l’ve always loved Matt’s commitment to his bits, the way he thinks outside the box, and I remember especially liking how he really played with the format of the CD (i.e. “Preview Track”).

 

Adam Newman’s new album, Killed, was released on January 25th, 2015 on Rooftop Comedy Productions. It is available digitally on Amazon, Bandcamp, and iTunes. Adam Newman’s first album, Not For Horses, can be found at these locations: Amazon, Bandcamp, and iTunes.

Top Five with Joe DeVito

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.

It’s not very often that you get to go on a first date with someone as accomplished as Joe DeVito. From his semi-finalist position on season five of NBC’s hit show Last Comic Standing to numerous late night appearances such as the CBS’ Late Late Show, and frequent other TV spots on roundtable shows like Fox News’ Red Eye and E!’s Chelsea Lately. He’s known for his generous doses of sarcasm layered on top of a observational wit that keep audiences engaged throughout the country and comedy festivals alike. Also he’s a former competitive powerlifter and holds the current world record for the Inverted Cat Press. So making conversation on our blind meet-up we asked him about his favorite albums, and now it’s your turn to meet the man and guess if that’s a high class cocktail you smell or if he bought a new cologne just for going out tonight with you.

 

Woody Allen – The Night Club Years (1964-1968)

Perfect combination of a clear comedy persona, killer material and dead-on timing – aside from a few topical references, this is just as funny as it was 40+ years ago. The Moose, Bullet in My Breast Pocket, Kidnapped were staples in FM radio stations’ “Sunday Funnies” shows for decades, and with good reason.

 

 

Brian Regan – Live (1997)   

The first track “You Too and Stuff” must hold the record for shortest time between a comic’s introduction and when he has you wetting your pants. And Brian works squeaky clean, so you can play it for your parents when they insist that all comedians are degenerates.

 

 

 

Bob Newhart – The Button Down Mind of Bob Newhart (1960)

How great was Bob Newhart? Well, this debut and its followup were numbers 1 AND 2 on the Billboard Pop Album chart – a feat no modern  recording artist matched until Guns & Roses “Lose Your Illusion 1 & 2” (take that, Madonna). It’s amazing, when Newhart does one half of a phone conversation, you can actually hear the other half in your head (take that, Shelley Berman).

 

Jim Gaffigan – Luigi’s Doghouse (2001)

The first of Gaffigan’s self-produced CDs, now out of print. Another one that had me and my friends quoting lines and braying like jackasses. Contains an early version of the classic “Hot Pocket,” plus delightfully unexpected cursing!

 

 

 

 

Maria Bamford – Ask Me About My New God! (2013)

Thank God Maria is so prolific because she gets better and more Maria Bamford-y with every release. Her character work has always been so good it’s scary (and sometimes so scary it’s good), but it’s the little things that kill me now, like the quick shoutout to Nerds candies in “Paula Deen’s Suicide Note.” I’m in awe because it’s the complete opposite of what I do; is it possible a bit like that starts with a pad and a pen?

 

 

Joe DeVito’s debut album, First Date With Joe DeVito, was released on January 13th, 2015 on Rooftop Comedy Productions. It is available on Amazon, Bandcamp, and iTunes.

Top Five With Davon Magwood

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.

Photo by Jordan Beckham

Davon Magwood is a pop culture-savant from Pittsburgh making waves by marrying his love of the 90’s while playing around with controversial topics. With the release of his new album, I’d Rather Be Napping, he talks about job pursuits, a child’s tantrum, and the best OKCupid date ever. Davon, in preparation for the release of his new album, shared his top five comedy releases of all time that helped shape his impression of the comedy world at large.

 

5. Bill Cosby “Himself”

I know he’s a creep, and that CRUSHES me. This special was the very first comedy special I ever watched. I knew it word for word. I admired him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Bill Burr ‘Let It Go’

I really enjoy how he can just talk and sound like an everyday guy and make such quick wit and relatable jokes.

 

 

 

 

 

3. Hannibal Buress ‘Animal Furance’  

So fun to listen to. He goes to such odd places and draws you in. I envy it and respect it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Dave Chappelle “Killing Them Softly”

This special is amazing. His comedy is solid, he makes statements about the world around us. He makes jokes about race and life without you even realizing it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Chris Rock “Bring The Pain

I will always admire Chris Rocks writing and his command of his space on stage. Just watching this as a kid really made me want to be on stage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Davon Magwood’s new album, I’d Rather Be Napping, was released on December 16th, 2014 on Rooftop Comedy Productions. It is available digitally on Amazon MP3, iTunes, and Bandcamp.

Top Five with Nore Davis

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.

 

Photo by Phil ProvencioNore Davis is a comedian with a sharp composure and charismatic stage presence that draws you in like the most casual and inclusive of conversations, all while making you feel like your gut wants to bust. Nore weaves in and out of characters to breathe amazing life into his jokes and add dimensionality in a way that sets him apart. Fresh off the release of this album Home Game recorded at the legendary Comic Strip Live in New York, Nore shared the comedy albums that inspired his act and shaped his comedic identity.

 

Richard Pryor – The Anthology ’65-’92

When I embarked on my stand-up journey, I wanted to study my favorite comedians – But to study a “great” comedian, I believe you must study who they studied and Pryor was the common denominator of every great comedian.

The Anthology is basically the Encyclopedia Collection Set of Pryor’s work. ALL OF IT. I believe you should enjoy all of an artist works. Good or bad. And Pryor’s bad was better than anybody’s best during his time. I’ve learned so much from listening to him about crafting jokes and telling a story by going in and out of characters while slaying the crowd. All of his albums sounded like a party; A party you wish you attended. He took you on a joyous ride and that was always my goal! To take the audience on a ride like he did. Huge influence and impact on creating my album.

 

Dane Cook – Harmful If Swallowed

I never understood why comics older then me and some of my peers hated this man. I will always admit I was a huge fan of Dane Cook in college and stand by that proudly today. F*ck the haters. Dane Cook is f*cking dope. Went to a show in NJ at the pinnacle of his career and he gave a phenomenal show. His energy and story telling was unmatched. I enjoyed his work and also learned to just be imaginative on stage. The line “No! This tire hunted Mary down” floored me because he took that joke to a whole other level. Cook’s stage presence and stand-up performance seemed so effortless to me and that’s my goal. Make my art seem effortless.

 

Martin – LIVE Talkin Shit

Martin is a powerhouse performer and in his album “Talkin Shit” displays that. Its nothing but raw hard hitting comedy. I learned to tell a great joke and also HAVE to perform it. You can say the most mediocre premise but with a great performance (an “Act-out”) you really paint a full picture for the audience. Martin’s jokes were far from mediocre but when he was on, he couldn’t be followed quoted from Chris Rock! This album was the blueprint to his HBO special “You So Crazy” which was played only in theaters. So raw and so dope!

 

Robin Harris – Be-Be’s Kids

This album was everything to me. When I first started stand-up like 7 years ago, I didn’t own a iPod so all I did was play this CD on repeat in my lil’ depressing broken-down Honda Civic. Loved Robin Harris and wanted to be loved and demand the respect from your own (black) people like he did. He totally got respect from one of the hardest hardcore black crowds in Compton. He’s the only comedian, I know, that could curse-out Blood and Crip members on his album and still be ALIVE!  My favorite part is when a gang member said “HEY! IM FROM NWA MAN. DONT DISS US!” Robin shouted right back: “FUCK COMPTON! IM FROM STRAIGHT OFF A NIGGA ASS AND Y’ALL MAKING ME HOME SICK!” Can you imagine being so funny and respected that gang members laugh when you tell them to fuck off?! I doubt it. Robin Harris’ Be-Be’s Kids is such an excellent album.

 

Chris Rock – Born Suspect

I believe that Chris Rock’s Born Suspect is a straight up classic. Recorded in Atlanta back in 91. Its a perfect album for any upcoming comedian to listen too because it gives you Rock’s perspective on everything hot during his time and sharp insight into his childhood. It’s pretty timeless and a majority of all his topics such as black women’s “Weaves,” “Taxes,” “Black Aren’t Crazy,” and “Teenage Suicide” still hold up today. What makes a comedian great is to see and damn near predict the future. Rock did that. Consistently. Still to this day. Again, huge influence and impact on creating my album. #GOAT

 

 

 

Nore Davis’s new album, Home Game, was released on November 26th, 2014 on Rooftop Comedy Productions. It is available digitally on Amazon MP3, iTunes, and Bandcamp with physical CDs through Amazon and Bandcamp as well.

 

Top Five with Matt Knudsen

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.

In celebration of Matt Knudsen’s latest album release American we decided to dig deep into the comedic actor/stand-up comedian’s brain, to find out what triggers his funny eardrums.  Check out Matt Knudsen’s list of his favorite comedians currently making the rounds, and his top 5 comedy albums of all time. Take it away, Matt…

Before I get to my 5 favorite albums of all time (Household names at this point), it’s worth mentioning some of my favorite people that are currently out there killing it. For your enjoyment and in no particular order, check out:

Kyle Kinane, Myq Kaplan, Zach Sherwin, Henry Phillips, Rory Scovel, Sean Patton, T.J. Miller, Kumail Nanjiani, Nate Bargatze, Jarrod Harris, Rawle Lewis, Jackie Kashian, Eddie Pepitone, Howard Kremer, Reggie Watts, Matt Braunger, Andy Wood, Beth Stelling, Kate Berlant, Paul Danke, Cornell Reid, Aparna Nancherla, Emily Maya Mills, Doug “DJ Dougpound” Lussenhop, Johnny Pemberton, Brody Stevens and The Grawlix boys. Great. Great!

OK, so…

5. I’m Telling You for the Last Time – Jerry Seinfeld 

I’m not sure if this technically counts as an album, since it was an HBO special that was released on iTunes, but Jerry Seinfeld is the master of word economy. I heard shim say in an interview that he’ll spend all day trying to turn 8 words in to 5. Seinfeld knows better than anyone that the quicker you get to the funny part, the better. This is the special where he retired the act that made him famous before starting over from scratch and as such, Telling You, is chock full of the Seinfeld classics. Cab Drivers – “Yes officer, his name was Amal and then the symbol for boron.”

 

4. A Place for My Stuff – George Carlin 

I love George Carlin so it was difficult to pick a fave but A Place for My Stuff was really memorable for me. In addition to straight stand up, he also has these great sketch pieces recorded in a studio. Even at the top there’s an announcement, “This album has been made possible through grants from the following organizations…” and goes on to list hilarious/non-existent entities. After that he goes to live stand up with the opening joke, “Hey, have you noticed that you never seem to get laid much on Thanksgiving? I think it’s because all the coats are on the bed.”

3. Let’s Get Small – Steve Martin 

There are only 2 things that all comedians have in common; a microphone and a stage. That’s it. Stand up comedy really just requires those 2 things. So when a guy decides to don a white suit, put an arrow through his head and play the banjo that comedy exists on a completely different stratosphere. Steve Martin played the clown prince better than anyone and Let’s Get Small is full of classic bits that I still quote all the time. “I am so mad at my mother. She’s 102 years; she called me up the other day and wanted to borrow 10 dollars for some food.” This album is also the birthplace of the national catchphrase, “Well Excuuuse Meeeee.”

2. The Buttoned Down Mind of Bob Newhart – Bob Newhart 

Buttoned Down mind was released in 1960 during an era of comedy where a lot of comedians were performing the same jokes. Not writing their own jokes and then performing them night after night, literally telling the same jokes other comedians told all over the country. Bob Newhart was working as a full time accountant and Warner Brothers had to set up shows for him because he had never performed stand up at a club. 2 weeks after his first time on stage, he recorded this seminal album. It went on to knock Elvis Presley off the #1 spot on the billboard charts, is the 20th best selling album (not just comedy) of all time and is currently archived in The Library of Congress. The patient pauses, the controlled stammering and letting an audience use their imagination to fill in the picture were groundbreaking. Newhart made the crowd come to him instead of vice versa and this album has the classics, “Driving Instructor,” “Marketing the Wright Brothers,” and “Nobody Will Ever Play Baseball.”

1. Himself – Bill Cosby  

All hail the king. I really don’t know what else I can say about Cosby that hasn’t been said a million times before but there is a reason that every comedian from every walk of life name him as their favorite, myself included. I had Bill Cosby’s cassettes that I used to listen to on my yellow Sony Walkman and would be beside myself with laughter. Let’s face it; we all know Junior Barnes is a gunky. But with “Himself”, it was the first time I ever saw Cosby performing the things he was saying and it made me enjoy it even more. Sitting in a chair. A chair. Owning it. This album is also a very clear template for The Cosby Show. “The reason we have 5 children is because we do not want 6.” I mean come on. Also, a lot of people don’t know this but Cosby and his wife produced everything (Jemmin Inc.) so he always maintained the rights to all of his material. Even on the business side of show business he was years ahead of his time. If you’d like to see how comedians regard Cosby, watch him spending time with Jerry Seinfeld in the documentary Comedian. That pretty much sums it up. I had the privilege of seeing Bill Cosby perform live about 6 months ago. He did almost two hours. He still sat in a chair. He still owned it. “Dad is great. He gave us chocolate cake.”

 

Matt Knudsen’s album, American, was released on April 29th, 2014 on Rooftop Comedy Productions. It is available on Amazon, iTunes, and Bandcamp.