Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My Top 10 Comedy albums of 2013

It probably comes as no surprise that I've listened to a lot of stand up comedy this year. What I was surprised to discover was just how many great comedy albums came out this year alone. With the holidays coming up, you might be traveling long distances, and I can hardly think of a better way to make being on an airplane/in a car/aboard a train more fun than by listening to these fine, fine comedians saying hilarious, hilarious things. Enjoy.

Maria Bamford - Ask Me About My New God!
It's hard to write anything more than, "I love this woman." Truth be told, I have listened to this album about a billion times since it was released earlier this year and it never gets old. She's so smart and quick and weird all at the same time. Maria Bamford is my new god and you should ask me about her.

Tig Notaro - LIVE
I'm sure it comes as no surprise to find out that I adore Tig Notaro. From the very first time I saw her do her "No Moleste" bit, I was a die hard fan. So when I heard that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, I felt like somebody punched me in the gut. Then I heard this very raw set she did just days after her diagnosis and right on the heels of her mother's death. It solidified my love and admiration. This is so funny and emotionally raw and should be heard by everybody.

Kurt Braunohler - How Do I Land?
A sure-fire sign of how much I love a comedy album is how many times a phrase or joke from the album pops into my head. And there are several from 'How Do I Land?' including: "If you could have a million dollars a month for the rest of your life, but you need to kill a boy, which boy?" and, "I have a specific memory of breast feeding and watching Phil Donahue and asking my mom to change the channel because I was bored." So good.

Nate Craig - Infinity
This is another album that I have zero idea how I came across it, but thankfully I did because Nate Craig's bit about gay marriage is one of my favorites on the subject and includes the lines "Are gay people resting their tired dicks on your children's shoulders?" and "If your kids see gay people being gay, and they want to be gay... you've got gay fuckin' kids." My only qualm about this album is it is recorded a bit more quietly than most. But totally worth cranking the volume for.

David Huntsberger - Explosion Land
I first heard of David Huntsberger from Professor Blastoff - the podcast he cohosts with Tig Notaro and Kyle Dunnigan. What I love so much about Explosion Land is it manages to be super smart (nerdily smart) without being preachy or exhausting. I could listen to his bit where he demolishes the dogmatic, anti-evolution "I didn't come from no damn monkey" line of reasoning with lighting-quick hilarity and logic on repeat.

Andrew Orvedahl - Hit the Dick Lights
I don't remember how I stumbled onto his album, but Hit the Dick Lights starts out with Orvedahl recounting the time he unwittingly read 50 Shades of Grey over the shoulder of a woman on an airplane ("... as I'm trying to figure out what (the book) is, I'm thinking, 'This is garbage.'") and just keeps giving from there.

Al Madrigal - Why Is the Rabbit Crying?
Why is the Rabbit Crying? deals with a lot of family/kid-related subject matter much like an updated Bill Cosby's 'Himself." And just like that classic comedy album, you don't even need to have kids to really appreciate his delivery and hilarious narratives about things like his son's cholo soccer coach and his daughter mistaking his butt crack for a vagina.

Paula Poundstone - I Heart Jokes: Paula Tells Them in Boston
I've loved Paula Poundstone forever and easily include her in my top three favorite comics of all time. While crowd work scares the hell out of me, she's a master at talking to the audience and making it fun for everybody as is evident in her conversation with a Bostonian "print broker." She's a national treasure as far as I'm concerned.

Dana Gould - I Know It's Wrong
I Know It's Wrong solidified to me just how great a writer Dana Gould is. Not that this wasn't evident to tons (and tons) of people, but I have a whole new appreciation for great writing now that I'm attempting to do this stuff. Plus, he closes his show by quoting Smiths lyrics. He's basically pandering to me, big time.

Kumail Nanjiani - Beta Male
I was totally sold on Kumail Nanjiani after hearing his bit about the new drug cocktail called "cheese." But that's far from the only fantastic moment on Beta Male. His description of the bleakness that is the video game Heavy Rain is enough to turn me into a gamer.

For more 2013 comedy recommendations, check out my "Best Stand Up Albums of 2013" Spotify playlist here.

For additional things to listen to as you endure the humiliation of holiday air travel, check out my recent post of podcast recommendations

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