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Comedy Reviews - CD - Various Stand-Up Comics - Play The Word - Volume 1

Independent Release

What do sitcom writers do on their day off? Work on their own material, be it humorous essays or stories. Occasionally they get a chance to perform this material live in from of an audience. Play The Word, Volume 1 is a live recording of such an evening.

"Something Extremely Important" is a fun little story by Merril Markoe (Late Night With David Letterman) about a friend going to a personal crisis and a dog intent on getting that friend involved in a game of fetch. It works best once Markoe gets to the point of the story which is seeing this moment through the dog's point of view. The little message at the end could have been handled with more subtlety.

"Attractive in a Bad Way" is a humorous girlfriends from hell tale. Rob Cohen (The Simpsons, The Ben Stiller Show) has terrible luck with women and shares his experiences. It is an entertaining, sometimes funny story that polished and told by a professional would work better as a stand-up comic's set.

The importance and hedonist value of sleep is what interests Julie Rottenberg (Sex & The City) in her essay / story "To Sleep, Perchance to Sleep Some More". It is entertaining and well told considering she is not a professional performer. It is one of the two most polished and ready for public performance tales on this independent release CD of funny stories and essays.

Less successful is "The Day I Got Caught Playing With Myself in Hebrew School" as told by Alan Zweibel (It's Garry Shandling's Show and Saturday Night Live). Basically, an eleven year old gets a crush on Sarah, Abraham's wife and reacts accordingly. The problem is Zweibel, for some unfathomable reason, insists on giving the exact biblical reference to the passages that ... interest him and this very much takes away from the beat of the story. The ending feels rushed, as if someone was flashing the red light at him.

Host and organizer of the event Beth Lapides tells the story of her first experiences after moving to L.A. It features an interesting cast of characters including a poet into serious S&M and fairly funny anecdotes and observations that, in the end, do not really pay off. The French call this a nouvelle and a nouvelle isn't really a short story.

The strongest, relatively speaking, humorous essay / story on this funny CD is by Winnie Holzman (My So-Called Life). "Good Hair" is the story of a Jewish woman who finally has the money and courage to realize her life long dream of getting her hair straightened. References and observations about Barbara Streisand's various hair incarnations and moments add humor to this tale while parallels to what Black women go through add some relevance. It is entertaining and well told.

"Desperate Flapper" is a performance poem by George Meyer (The Simpsons). Never having been a fan of poetry readings and the kind of poems poets seem to always choose for public performance, a fair comment on this would be impossible.

Play the Word is an excellent concept: get writers who work on various comedy shows to share their own material and perform it in from of an audience. Unfortunately, it is not given all the attention and care it should have received. This would be a much better comedy CD if the essays and stories had been polished a bit more and the readers had worked a bit on their delivery. What could have been a great almost comedy and funnier CD is just a bit better than what you can get at a reading at your local college.

Other Various Stand-Up Comics Reviews

Play The Word - Volume 2: Jay Kogen, Cindy Chupack, Eric Gilliland, Beth Lapides, Julia Sweeny, Cindy Camponera, Rob Cohen

Before They Were Kings Volume 1: a comedy Dvd featuring some old sets has not aged a bit.

Before They Were Kings Volume 2: an interesting though not a must have stand-up comedy DVD.

The Big Black Comedy Show Volume 1: The Big Black Comedy Show Volume 1 is a very solid comedy DVD

The Big Black Comedy Show Volume 2: Big Black Comedy Volume 1 is far superior to this comedy DVD

Laffapalooza 5: not the best of the bunch but quite decent nonetheless

Laughing Matters: Bad director! Bad director!! Someone take her splicing kit away, now!

Drive By Comedy: a pretty good sample style audio book comedy CD

The Naughty Show Bad Girls Of Comedy: Kim Cea, Stella Stolper, Lisa Ann Walter, Kate Rigg, Shayma Tash, Robin Montague. Ex adult film star director, limp product, no money shot.

World's Greatest Stand-Up Comedy Collection: World's greatest stand-up comedy DVD collection. They are all there.

Redneck Comedy Roundup: skip over the many Engvall tracks and enjoy the other stand-up comics

Invite Them Up: 4 hours on 3 comedy CDs and 1 DVD, hard to beat

Open Mic: behind-the-scenes documentary about the stand-up comedy biz

Man Alive - CBC Winnipeg Comedy Festival: CBC Winnipeg Comedy Festival show John Wing Jr, Glen Foster, others

Just For Laughs Vol 1 Best of The Uptown Comics: Uptown Comics Volume 1 is an excellent stand-up comedy DVD.

Just For Laughs Stand-Up Vol 2 On The Edge: Comedy Festival gala performances by comedy's edgiest,funniest

The Good,The Bad, And The Drugly: Major stand-up comedy artists do very different stuff.

Un-Cabaret - The Un & Only: Decent not quite comedy CD

10,000 Laughs : Best of the Boston Comedy Festival: Very good stand-up comedy CD features 16 stand-up comics and not a bad set in the bunch.

Comedy Death-Ray: A different comedy concept 2 CD set with Patton Oswalt, Maria Bamford, David Cross, and many others.

Cutting Edge Comedians of the 60s and 70s DVD - Capsule Review: Great Stand-up comedy TV clip collection.

Cutting Edge Comedians of the 60s and 70s - Full Review: DVD with rare TV clips of comedy greats like Cosby, Newhart, Carlin, etc

Indian Invasion Comedy: Buffet style DVD featuring Mark Saldana, Bijai Nathan, Rajiv Satyal, Dalia, and Vidur Kapur.

Katt Williams presents Katthouse Comedy: Ordinary stand-up comedy DVD with Red Grant, Luenell, and Melanie Comarcho

National Lampoon Live Un-Scripted with Frank Caliendo: Buffet style stand-up comedy CD with Frank Caliendo, John DiResta, Bert Kreischer, Tess, and Steve Byrne

Comics Without Borders - Season One: Russell Peters hosts 18 comics in stand-up comedy variety pack

Best of Montreal Comedy: Good variety pack of up-and-coming Montreal comics

Yuk Yuk's Guide To Canadian Stand-up: Yuk Yuk's owner presents the history of Canadian stand-up comedy in must have 5 CD audio book set featuring more than 50 stand-up comics.

The Awkward Comedy Show: Buffet style stand-up comedy DVD featuring 5 nerdy Black comics

A 420 Friendly Comedy Special: Very good comedy but not as much pot as you'd expect.

Comedy Juice All-Stars: Very good compilation from Stand Up! Records aside from Eddie Pepitone

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