Monday, November 06, 2006

Comedy Train Wrecks

Andrew 'Dice' Clay's Brooklyn-meathead persona is an acquired taste. His act has always consisted of racist, sexist, homophobic and misogynistic taunts that were surely offensive to many, but ripe for the repression of the Reagan era. Anyone who truly finds Clay some kind of affront to society is taking things too seriously. I am not a great fan of Clay, but this album is an honest and interesting experiment.

The Day the Laughter Died was recorded before Clay achieved mass success. In 1989, Clay asked Rick Rubin from Def American Records to record him performing in a small New York City nightclub where he would try to perform "the worst show possible", which included insulting members of the audience and heckling patrons as they left the club. The Day the Laughter Died presents said show, completely uncut. Another detail to factor in is that Clay performed this show without any prepared material on hand, he made up his act as he went along (something he casually explains at the beginning of the first disc).

The material is standard 'Dice', lots of women-bashing and crude sex humor. No matter how poor the material goes over with the audience, Clay never loses his composure. This is an incredibly intimate evening of stand-up comedy, and a lot quieter than you would expect from Andrew 'Dice' Clay.

Of all the loose-cannon stand-up comedians, no one was more volcanic than the late Bill Hicks. This 1989 bootleg album I'm Sorry, Folks is probably the most volatile example of hearing a man completely come apart in public. Referred to as the "Bill-Loses-It" show, this bootleg consists of a standard Bill Hicks performance, until late in the show where a heckler repeatedly shouts "Freebird", leading Hicks to tear off a misanthropic tirade calling for the end of the world and asking God to wipe out humankind entirely. It culminates with the now-famous quote "Hilter had the right idea, he was just an underachiever!"

I'm not a big fan of Hicks either (he was more angry than funny), but both of these albums prove that some stand-up comedians approached their craft as more than mere entertainment, and didn't mind testing their own audiences.

Andrew 'Dice' Clay - The Day the Laughter Died [1990]

Disc 1
Mp3, Stereo, 128 kbps, 46.7 MB

Disc 2
Mp3, Stereo, 128 kbps, 46.1 MB

Bill Hicks - I'm Sorry, Folks [1989]
Mp3, Stereo, 128 kbps, 48.2 MB

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Laughing and shifting uncomfortably at the same time.

Good stuff