Review: Do You Believe in Gosh – Mitch Hedberg’s new CD

The new CD of Mitch Hedberg material, Do You Believe in Gosh? was released on September 9, 2008. Mitch Hedberg and the new CD are discussed about in this New York Times piece which came out last week. No, as one friend asked, Mitch is not the stand-up comic version of rapper Tupac, releasing material from the Great Beyond. Instead, this material was compiled from a few performances at the Ontario Improv, not intended for release. Who knows if anything like this by Hedberg will be released in the future, but hopefully so.

A burrito is a sleeping bag for ground beef!
Mitch Hedberg: "A burrito is a sleeping bag for ground beef!"

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Listening to the material this evening, there is a lot of great jokes, of course. Some material is obviously stuff he’s trying out, but there’s plenty of clever one-liners to satisfy Mitch Hedberg fans. The first track or two is slow-going and I was a little worried that it would ramble all the way through (like, be really unpolished), but once the one-liners get going, you forget that this was not intended for commercial release because some of it is gold. The material was still being worked on, still finding its way into the world of Mitch, but a lot it easily matches up against his previous albums’ polished set of material. And even when joke doesn’t work, Mitch sometimes admits or just lets it fade out. It’s a good example of how seemingly successful (I’d call him successful) comics still have to get on stage, try new material, and see how it works.

My favorite so far is the set-up/punch-line for the inspirational physically challenged Lola, the typical, physically challenged person who is supposed to inspire the world by not knowing the word “can’t.” I won’t spoil it, but Mitch Hedberg has a bigger concern about Lola.

There are 13 title tracks but Mitch Hedberg fans know that this means there’s probably 15 other topics discussed in rapid-fire, curious one-liners and thoughts about nearly everything, from burritos to ESPN Classic to heavy belts.

Yes, I recommend it, of course. Hopefully, this isn’t the last album of Mitch stuff that will be released. If there is a Gosh, of course, then more will be released.

As with the other albums, there’s occasional harsh language, but the subject matter is everyday stuff.

Mitch Hedberg – NEW ALBUM! September 9, 2008 – Do You Believe In Gosh?

UPDATE: My first impressions of the album here.

Earlier: I’m gonna take a break from my idiotic posts to make anyone aware that the late comedian Mitch Hedberg has a new comedy album coming out on September 9, 2008. I just discovered this and so I thought I’d share.

I’m a fan – and I don’t say that often of anything.

UPDATE: I put a few thoughts down about the new album, which I’m listening tonight.

June 18th show, etc

June 18, 2008 – I’m opening a show at Player’s Restaurant – 8 pm in Atascadero, CA. Tickets will sell out so if anybody happens to read this and wants to attend, swing by the restaurant and buy tickets ($10 apiece).

I’ll do about 15 minutes. I did fifteen minutes the other day and with success! All but one new joke worked, and even the one that didn’t, crowd didn’t mind. Crowd size was about 100-120 – I’m not sure, but it was a good crowd and they laughed all the way through (as they should, of course).

and now for something completely different (and better): a clip of Richard Pryor (warning: language – of course) – this is Pryor talking about him and the mafia in OH.

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Denis Leary & Bill Hicks – Siamese Comedians!

I ran across this controversy last year – someone posted audio/video of comedians Bill Hicks and Denis Leary, pointing out that many of Leary’s jokes resemble Hicks’ routine. Hicks is more the ‘comedian’s comedian’ – meaning ‘dead’ or ‘unknown’. Hicks is unfortunately dead of cancer, and was just starting to get major recognition.  Denis Leary hit the big time in the early/mid-90s with his “No Cure for Cancer” concert (and book!).  The video below is one example of several videos posted on Youtube.  Admittedly, I was a big fan of Leary’s when I first heard his album, but then his routine got old to me. I don’t know enough about Hicks – not sure if he’s as great as everyone claims, but from what I’ve seen, he’s definitely ahead of and maybe more authentic than the ‘sorta angry/annoyed’ comics like Lewis Black, David Cross, etc. If you do comedy about general topics (airplane food, corporations, politicians, smoking), you will run into other comedians cover the same subject matter. How they cover it, how they present it, what examples they use, determies if it’s stealing.  One way to avoid this? Write more personal jokes. Duh.

Crackle.com and first contest winner

This is a few months old news, but a local Central California resident, Lizette Mizelle, won Crackle.com’s first contest back in August. I think there are too many comedy websites with contests, but if you are gonna win one, it doesn’t hurt to win at this site, which is owned by Sony Entertainment Pictures (and, of course, don’t forget to watch your favorite stand-up comedian on your new Sony Bravia…things are funnier in HD).

Links:    crackle.com    and crackle.com/contest   (click on Hall of Fame, then scroll down to see Lizette’s set)

Steve Martin – Born Standing Up

Steve Martin

Steve Martin has a new, excellent, 207 page book out in stores this month, titled Born Standing Up. Anybody interested in stand-up comedy should read Martin’s story. He recalls his early jobs as a teenager and young man, and later as a hugely popular comedian touring the country in 1970s, playing venues filled with thousands of people. The banjo, the arrow-through-the-head gag, the white suit – he describes the evolution of this act, from the beginnings as a kid with a talent for magic tricks and goofiness, to a young, educated man twisting general perceptions of stand-up comedy with his absurd actions, oddball humor and hard work.

He mentions very little of his movie career, except when related to some of his material in his stand-up act, so we are spared of stories about life on the set of Cheaper By The Dozen. Instead, he gives us a focused account of one of the hottest comedy acts of the 20th century – his own.

Most comedians can and do package their jokes into book form and slap a $20 price on it and watch it climb the bestseller lists. Those are sorta funny, I’m-on-an-airplane reads. But, only a few jokers actually take the time to asses their stand-up act, themselves and stand-up comedy. I think this is only because a few have the stand-up comedy career worth studying, like Steve Martin.

Here’s Martin performing his Fun Balloon Animals piece: