Sunday, July 13, 2008

Woody Allen: Stand Up Comic

Woody Allen: standup comic
Woody Allen: Standup Comic
Published by Rhino/Wea in 1999

I don't hate Woody Allen. I like his films. I even find his more recent films that aren't so good to have a certain charm. I think that this album shows that sticking to films is his best bet.

Listening to this album, I kept thinking "gee, I would like to be watching a Woody Allen right now." Woody Allen keeps delivering a lot of story material. Story material that makes me think "Wow, this would be really great to see in a film, but just having Woody Allen tell me this story sucks."

For example, Woody tells the story of how he shot a moose, strapped him on to the fender of his car, and the moose, not dead wakes up as he is driving through the Holland Tunnel. Apparently, it is against the law to drive with a conscious moose on your fender in New York, so Woody panics and goes to a costume party with the moose, hoping to ditch the moose at the party. The moose mingles and someone tries to sell the moose insurance for an hour and a half. There is a costume contest, and the moose comes in second behind a couple, the Berkowitzes, that are. dressed as a moose. The moose is angry and fights the couple. Woody takes the chance to grab the moose and strap him to the fender of his car and drive him out to the woods, but he gets the Berkowitzes instead. The next morning Mr. Birkowitz is mistaken for a moose, shot, stuffed, and displayed at the New York athletic club, which is funny because the club is restricted.

See how hilarious that story is in writing? Woody just telling you the story is about as hilarious.

What doesn't help is that the audience seems disproportionately pleased with Woody Allen. It's almost like everything he is saying to them are the most brilliant words ever spoken in the English language. Yeah, they are clever words, but seriously, I thought I was going to star hearing screaming, weeping and hymnals.

I understand that this CD is compiled from three albums released of Woody Allen's material from 1964 to 1968. So, perhaps the original material released in an unedited form comes across much better, but I get the suspicion that I would still feel the same about this. I listen to the album and I say to myself "Well, that's clever," "That's imaginative" but I do not say "This is hilarious," "This is really funny," or "I must listen to this again sometime."

Also, I would like to point out the sound quality for this is somewhat sub-par. Sure, there are a lot of analog to digital recordings out there, but I'm pretty sure not many of them sound like a digital recording from a cassette deck that was hooked up to a dusty LP on a Fisher Price record player. This is what this recording sounds like.

Overall, I think this a good album if you are a fan of Woody Allen and are curious to hear what his stand-up is like but it isn't one of those things you will find yourself laughing out loud to.

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