Flagship Father Figure
by Dan
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


The comedy album is having a very good year. I've selected 5 things I want you to hear:

Paul F. Tompkins - "Elegant Balloons"

What I love about Paul F. Tompkins is how friendly his comedy is. He makes me feel safe. Not in a timid way, just more like he's the opposite of the kind of comedian who's looking for people to make fun of. That's why he wears a three-piece suit every time he performs. He's a gentleman, and he's dressed up for the occasion of this his comedic performance. His album feels classical without feeling retro, it's completely comfortable in its skin, in its suit. [Buy Impersonal]

Patton Oswalt - "Physics For Poets"

The cover of Patton Oswalt's Werewolves and Lollipops is an illustration of his face, removed from his head like a marble, and the only thing left in the hole for his face is a row of teeth, with fangs. This is a perfect cover, because crossing Patton Oswalt is a bad idea, he takes down hecklers in a more harsh and overdramatic way than I've ever heard, but as long as you're not asking for it it's okay. Like in this bit, for example. It's just a completely seamlessly crafted little story about a college exam that involves Star Trek and physics. It's exactly what college was like for me, there were courses like that, and questions like that. [Buy Werewolves and Lollipops]

Stewart Lee - "90s Comedian (excerpt)"

An oddly under-appreciated comic. He seems to run into more controversy than he deserves, and it's gotta be getting old for him at this point. His anger isn't unfocused or hateful at all, it's very calm, very examined. You can hear that here, especially in the explanation of the fact that you can't send a friend to have investigative surgery in your place. He's like a philosopher, he'll go over the simplest details with dignity and patience, and it's hilarious, because he's nice about it, no matter how stupid it is. [Buy 90s Comedian DVD]

Maria Bamford - "Mental Makeup"

Maria Bamford is perfect. She's heading up the stand-up division of the ongoing revolution of female comedians. Her comedy, while inherently female, has none of the former hang-ups that a lot of female comedians had. It's just incredibly funny. Her role-playing is, while maybe her best, just one element in her style. Her voices give instant depth to the characters and we're suddenly interested in them, but when we come back to bits just about her, she's just as interesting. fantastic. [Buy How to WIN!]

Scharpling & Wurster - "Jock Squad (sample)"

And of course, my favourite. This was the first piece I heard on Fluxblog over a year ago now, and it's now on the Best Show 2006 compilation. I was so taken in by this, the simultaneous feelings of spontaneity and genius calculation, the always-surprising fluidity and integrity of the character work, Best Show has inside it a graduate thesis just waiting to be written (but first we need comedy, like film, to be studied, so that those who fail at doing comedy can study it instead). [Buy the new Scharpling & Wurster cd Art of the Slap]

Posted by Dan at July 20, 2007 12:23 AM

Excellent choices and write-ups, Dan.

I can't believe how accurate "Physics for Poets" depicts those kind of classes. Hilarious!

Posted by Dylan at July 20, 2007 4:34 PM

Stewart Lee was really funny,deffinately my favorite out of them all.

Posted by Susanna at July 20, 2007 11:51 PM

Have you heard this fantastic interview the A Special Thing podcast did with Scharpling and Wurster? http://astradio.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=231533 So so good. Surely a key primary source for that to-be-written thesis.

Posted by erik at July 21, 2007 2:09 PM

Stewart Lee is brilliant. You have to try and see This Morning with Richard Not Judy, if you can.

Posted by Rin at July 22, 2007 7:22 PM

These are hilarious, thank you.

Posted by Leora at July 23, 2007 3:07 PM

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about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet.
Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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