Two years ago, one of my good friends introduced me to the world of comedy podcasts. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like this was my first introduction to stand-up comedy, for that you have to thank A&E’s endless reruns of An Evening At The Improv.. you know when the channel was less about addiction and more about actual art.
Anyways, I digress. Where was I? Oh yes, discovering comedy again.
I was first introduced to the The Sklarbro Country sports podcast and then eventually discovered Welsh comic Rhod Gilbert podcast. From there I discovered Patton Oswalt’s full-length albums and then discovered that buried deep within the depths of Rdio is a treasure trove of comedy albums.
And over the past few months, for whatever god foresaken reason, I started listening to the calming sounds of stand-up comedy before falling a sleep. Don’t ask me why, but for a few stressful weeks in January the only thing that would keep my mind off of the toils of life was the sounds of Lewis Black, The Sklars and other hilarious comedians. I may never know why this happened, but it worked like a charm and thus my new found love of comedy was born.
So after a few months of trolling comedy albums, I thought I’d share my favourite comedians with people. Now as a caveat this is by no means a professional top ten list, in honesty these are just the comedians I really dig – so you won’t find Louis C.K. or Daniel Tosh on the list. Frankly I’m just not a fan of their stuff.
But I do hope you enjoy the list and if you’re new to stand-up, like I am, I hope it kick starts an interest in the genre.
Overal the past couple of years Patton Oswalt has been quietly establishing himself as The King of the Nerds. Whether it’s live tweeting Downton Abbe, the GOP Debates or even acting as Dr. Octopus to his kid’s Spider-girl, this man is a nation treasure. And while many people have heard of Patton Oswalt because of his infamous breakdown of the KFC bowls, this skit had me in tears the first time I heard.
If you’re looking for a sole reason for why I got into stand-up comedy, this man is it.
If you’re a fan of The Daily Show, you’ll know of Lewis Black. He is that grumpy political assoholic uncle we all wish we had. If you thought he was over the top, then check out his stand-up work. He has an impeccable delivery and political observations are dead on.
Oddly enough, the more I think about it, the more I’m probably going end up being Lewis Black in 20 years.
Goes without saying, but The Sklars are pretty epic. Two identical twin brothers from St. Louis who are all over the pop-culture spectrum, but have still managed to lay the ground work for the perfect fusion between comedy and sports reporting on their legendary podcast Sklarbro Country. Whether it’s their irrational hatred for Saskatoon, their great taste in indie music or anything involving Jessie The Body Ventura or Kris Jenner The Sklarbro Country podcast is a pure comedy-avalanche.
Aziz Ansari is probably best known for a role on NBC’s Parks and Rec, but his stand up is pretty amazing. It takes a while to really get into it, but they guy is classically funny. Anything where he makes fun of his cousin is just pure gold.
Hannibal Buress is probably one of the more popular comics on the circuit at the moment… or that is what the Internt tells me at least. And for that reason alone, I would typically skip over him on a list like this (it’s why Daniel Tosh isn’t on this list), but the man can deliver a punchline. So give him a couple of spins.
Not only does he rap and star in NBC’s Community, but he’s also a stand-up comic. This guy’s a beast
Now, this list isn’t not nearly as complete as it should be. If you have recommendations, unleash it in the comments.
Earlier this month, one of my most beloved (and long overdue for a redesign) side projects Music-critic.ca launched it’s annual best of feature. Not being one to miss an opportunity to wax on and on about the state of music, I crafted my top five records for the year.
Now, the problem with trying to rank your top five favorite records of the year is that you inevitably can’t find a spot for a record you really adore or you discover something that blows your mind after the fact. So since I’m taking a bit of recharge time this holiday season, I thought I’d whip up a full post to discuss my top five choices and also some also-rans that didn’t seam to make the cut. (Again here’s the full post for reference)
It’s no secret that I’m a massive, massive fan of The Deftones. Yes, who can’t love a bunch of old metal heads from Sacramento who adore Weezer, The Smiths, Joni Mitchell, The Cure and Duran Duran? But it’s also no secret that the Saturday Night Wrists album turned me off them for a while. It was such an offensive trainwreck that I couldn’t get over it. So I was incredibly weary of Koi No Yokan, but it turned out to be absolutely perfect. I know The Deftones are not everyone’s cup of tea, but do give it a couple of spins and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the depth.
fun. isn’t something that I’d typically sandwich in to a top five spot, except for the fact that Some Nights is probably the one record that my wife and I have been listening to constantly throughout 2012. It’s not just the lead single that’s really sharp, but the rest of the album is filled with great catchy anthems. Pardon the pun, but it really is a fun record and one that grows on you more and more with every listen.
To be honest, I totally forgot there was a new record from Japandroids in 2012. If I’m being frank, because of the similarity between the cover art of Celebration Rock and their earlier Post-Nothing, I totally spaced and thought Celebration Rock was just a special side EP or some collection of cheap B-Sides. It took me until November to realize it was a whole new album. Which is a total shame because 2012 was a pretty crummy year and if I had known about this before hand, I probably would have enjoyed the year a teeny bit better.
I’d like to thank Lou for getting me hooked on both Passion Pit and The xx in 2012. Yeah, I was familiar with both bands because of earlier remixes and best of lists, but I hadn’t actually listened to them like I did with both Grossnar and Coexist this year. Both bands broke through the typical one hit wonder status from previous years with their latest releases. Coexist is a great headphone record, while also a great record to play in the background while working away. And Grossnar is just a pretty darn awesome CD.
The also rans…
This record was ever so close to bumping Coexist from my list, but I couldn’t get over a handful of nit-picky things. First, Born To Die was hyped to the nines and plastered all over every single Starbucks in North America … and as an elitiest super snobb I couldn’t swallow my pride to add it to the list. And then of course there were the distracting controversies – her background, her history, the scenester backlash and of course her lackluster performances on SNL. But at the end of the day Born To Die is a pretty standout record. I’m still on the fence of how if I’ll appreciate the record as much in six or seven years, but for the time being it was very close to cracking my list.
Another close but no cigar record. Don’t get me wrong, I still adore Sleigh Bells, but Reign of Terror while fantastic, wasn’t as jaw-dropping or as addictive as Treats. I’ll blame it on familiarity and the lack of surprise, but it could have been a tiny bit better. Comeback Kid is still a fantastic track and far better than a majority of what was released this year.
Last but definitely not least, is Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ The Heist. I completely missed this album when it came out and wish it didn’t take syphoning off of other friends lists to catch it. Catchy and reminiscent of older Kanye Wesst & A Tribe Called Quest, The Heist really is one of those CDs that you know will stand the test of time. It also helps that it contains two tracks of the year with Thrift Store (which is fucking awesome) and of course Same Love (which really is one of the best songs in the past few years).
In what seams like the yearly signal that Christmas is around the corner, last month was Month Of New Music. Again, I could get into the history of it or you could just read my previous posts, essentially Month of New Music (#monm) started in December 2008 by a handful of Calgary Techies. The idea is to challenge yourself with help of peer-pressure from the online community to listen to one new to you CD for each day of November.
In years past, I’ve struggled to get past even the 15 day mark without an immense amount of effort. But now due to the advent of Rdio and online streaming , I’m happy to announce that 2012 was my most successful year, with 22/30 records nailed down. Or for those math nerds out there a 73.3% completion rate. Sure, I had to push my listening well into the first day of December to reach 22, but I’m just happy that I was able to push myself to new levels in this yearly challenge.
If you’re curious as to what I listened to you’re in for a treat, as I kept a spreadsheet of all the records I listened to over the month. I even included some incoherent ramblings… which I haven’t gone back to read over.
Now in regards to my take on the state of music right now, I’m not sure what to say. I might just be in denial, but I’m stuck between two conflicting stances that lead me to believe that I’ve turned into the thing I feared the most as 16 year old… that I’m an out of touch fossil. See on the one side, I have a gut feeling that bands and cds that I tend to really enjoy are a dying bred within popular culture. Bands such as Sleigh Bells, Queens of the Stone Age, MUTEMATH, The Distillers, The Foo Fighters, BTTLS and Rural Alberta Advantage are just too few and suitable alternatives are far between. But on the other hand, maybe, just maybe my musical tastes have aged and I’ve just become that out of touch 32 year old that is living in the glory years of music.
Either way, at the end of 30 days of exploration, I can say that there is far too much crummy dance music out there, Death Grips are a fascinating band to watch and The Deftones new record is probably one of the best things I’ve heard in a long time.
BTW kudos to all of those who are keeping the Month of New Music torch glowing. Special shout out to all of those who completed the task, very well done guys.
Well, hello there. Did you think I forgot about you? Of course not, I can’t quit this blog.
Yes, it seams like every few months I go on a bit of a hibernation with the old c.t.overdrive. This time I plan on blaming it on the Alberta Election, Alberta Tweets and of course our impending move back to the great white north. But don’t fret, I’ll be back writing again soon enough. Look for a handful of final blog posts regarding our wonderful time in The District, with my series of ode’s to this wonderful screwed up capital of the world.
… but in the meantime, I thought I’d get the creative juices flowing by sharing what’s been hammering on my playlist for the past few weeks. I’m sure there will be something on this list that perks your interest.
Of course, not much more needs to be said about this band that already hasn’t been said.
We stumbled upon Fitz and The Tantrums through some odd ghetto show called The Stoop. Anyways, it’s a bit of a throw back to Hall and Oates and of course the motown sound. A great band which we were lucky to catch live at The Sweetlife Festival a couple of weeks ago…
Plus any band where the lead singer looks like Jean-Baptiste Emanual Zorg automatically gets street cred in my books.
Another reference to this year’s Sweetlife Festival (which as mentioned last year is a one day festival put on my a local Salad company… yes, a salad company), but we had the pleasure of catching Explosions In The Sky live and is easily one of our musical highlights over the past few years. Friday Night Lights fans will already know what we’re talking about…
Poser/Inside joke alert: True confession, we could have seen Kid Cudi at the Sweetlife festival, but instead decided to head home early. So I can’t actually admit that I’ve seen him live, but since that weekend I’ve spent more time listening to his record
trying to figure out why the kids like this guy, which is very, very solid record.
It’s probably a travisty to post the Walk The Earth cover, but it’s a really well done cover and hey, the video is an incredible smash sensation. If you haven’t already heard this song, then I’m sorry for you as it’s probably one of the most infectious songs to have comeout in ages. Similarily the whole record is pretty solid.
One of the biggest travesties of my “music reviewing career” was not including Wugazi on my top five records of 2011.. hopefully this makes up for it.
Ah yes, it’s that time of year kiddies. St. Patrick’s day
A couple of links to get you in the mood today. Of course, it wouldn’t be a St. Paddy’s day with out some fighting so let’s get you in the mood with this classic opening scene from Gangs of New York.
And then find out some proper guidelines for celebrating the day, with this fantastic site – Paddy, not Patty.
And last but not least, if you don’t want to tempt fate and make your own Shamrock Shake, you may always tempt fate with the real thing from McDonalds.
Have a great day.