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May 22, 2012

CD Reviews: Old School Comedy Classics (2012)

As a fan of stand-up comedy, it always excites me to go back in time to old albums from the comedians I know, and it's great to go back and discover comedians I've missed. Cult Collectibles and MVD Audio have come together to re-release three classic comedy albums in their entirety, and they do a fantastic job. I don't usually review the material of a comedian, but in this case, I'll do it. You'll see why as you read on, but I think it's worthwhile with these classic albums.

Redd Foxx - I Ain't Lied Yet

We all know Foxx as the loveable jerk Fred Sanford, but I'll bet most people under forty have heard very little of his stand-up if any. I've heard some of his work prior to this, like You Gotta Wash Your Ass. It was much dirtier than I Ain't Lied Yet, which is dirty, but in a very subtle way. Foxx tells jokes more than anything, and I mean jokes you can read in a joke book. I don't know if he was just telling old jokes that he knew or if he wrote them and they've carried on through the years. Either way, his delivery is beautiful, and I laughed hard while listening to the album.

Jimmy Lynch - Nigger Please

This was my least favorite of the three albums. Everything on the album had to do with race, which is perfectly fine. I like racial humor. What I don't like is when there is anger behind it. It makes the joke more uncomfortable than funny. I understand that the early 70s were a different time and that we were still dealing with civil rights in a big way, but this album couldn't have any possibility of bringing people together. Worse yet is that the jokes weren't funny by any stretch. One bit goes on and on and has absolutely no payoff. Lynch reminded me of the ten worst Def Comedy Jam comics rolled into one person. The entire album is terrible.

Skillet & Leroy - 2 or 3 Times a Day

From the first bit on this album, I completely fell in love with it. Skillet and Leroy perform hilarious and smart sketch comedy that features LaWanda Page, better known as Aunt Esther on Sanford & Son. There are also two tracks included that feature stand-up comedy from Leroy, and he's great. This was my favorite album of the three and if Skillet and Leroy were still alive and touring today, I'd be at the front of the line to buy tickets to their show. This is one of those albums that I look forward to listening to over and over again. If you only get one of these albums, this should be it.

All three albums include artist renditions of the original album art. When you open any of the CDs, you can pop out the disc to reveal the original album art beneath the tray. The artwork is really well done, and the sound on all of the albums is pretty good. While many of you may just download or rip these to mp3, the booklets themselves are great collectibles. Not only do they include the artwork, but biographies of the comedians and liner notes from the albums.

I highly recommend this collection to comedy geeks. Even Lynch's album is worth hearing once for historical purposes. I'm drooling to see what Cult Collectibles and MVD bring us next. They did an amazing job here.

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