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Comedy Reviews - CD - Kumail Nanjiani - Beta Male

Beta Male

Beta Male
Kumail Nanjiani
Stand-up Comedy CD and DVD
Comedy Central Records 2013

The debut album from comic Kumail Nanjiani called “Beta Male” has been released as a 2-disc CD and DVD combo by Comedy Central Records.  So, with one roughly $12 purchase, the buyer gets both an audio and video version of the hour-long stand-up comedy special.

Kumail Nanjiani was born and raised in Pakistan, then moved to America, and has become one of the fastest rising stars on the stand-up comedy scene.  Nanjiani is very comfortable on stage, and frequently interacts with the audience.  The tone of the show is set almost immediately.  Nanjiani announces that he is from Pakistan, and the audience woos.  "Really, woos for Pakistan?" Nanjiani asks; following up with "That's new."

A lot of the material on the album focuses on Nanjiani’s Pakistani upbringing, and contains very personal stories.  The first such story involves the first time he remembers crying as a child.  It was after watching the movie The Ugly Duckling, and feeling a bit like an outsider himself.  Rather than consoling him, his mother tells him “ducks can’t talk.”

This is followed up by a story about how all birthday parties in Pakistan involve a monkey who does tricks … tricks that they learn through “lots of torture.”  Another involves a subsequent birthday party where the adults thought it was a good idea to get a mongoose and a cobra and let them fight it out.

I am a firm believer in the concept that “funny is funny.”  In other words, I do not have to agree with the comic on a political or social level to find the material funny.  For example, despite being extremely liberal myself, I find many conservative comics to be hysterical.  On this album, despite being an animal lover, I found the monkey story and the mongoose/cobra story to be very funny.  I mention this because there was one bit in Nanjiani’s act that seemed to strike a negative chord with me.  It was a story about buying a house where the previous owner had cats, and when the previous owner vacated she left the cats behind.  One cat immediately became feral and took off, but the other stayed behind and desperately wanted to be let inside.  Although the story that follows is funny, I could not help but repeatedly ask myself …. why didn’t he just let the cat inside?  Why let the cat suffer?  I readily admit this is my own issue and not something that will impact every listener, but since it did take me out of the performance and distract a bit from my enjoyment of the performance, I believe it is worth mentioning.

The special ends with the second longest bit on the album, an eight minute long-form story about believing his house is haunted.  The album’s name is derived from this bit, wherein Nanjiani explains that he is a beta male and, believing that his house may be haunted, he needed to call his alpha male friend for advice.  Although many comics have haunted house bits, Nanjiani’s bit is new and refreshing.

Amazon offers the autorip feature on this release so you can also get the mp3 album or buy it separately here.

Check out our Comedy Central Records page.


Brett Watson



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