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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.