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Condensation

Drawing on a master’s style, Dana Gould flips the script on his own tendency toward rounding out longer stories in stand-up

Former Simpsons writer and veteran stand-up comedian Dana Gould’s new album, “Mr. Funny Man,” to be released October 6 by Kill Rock Stars, finds the comic shape-shifting his material away from longer-form storytelling (described in a 2008 review) and toward shorter, compressed brief pieces.

Some of the bits Gould offers now have a decided George Carlin influence on their style and tone, that Gould didn’t possess in the past. Gould began performing at age 17, and is now middle-aged and divorced, so his persona has evolved from fresh-faced kid to family observational humor with an edge and on to something more pointed and even edgier.

The tracks or pieces on “Mr. Funny Man,” while short, in their own way are little stories unto themselves. Gould’s take on the world in his material hasn’t changed all that much, despite happening to land on a couple ideas that are very much in Carlin’s spirit. Gould moves quickly from one bit to the next, starting with “Fast, Phallic & Furious,” a take on the Fast & The Furious movies being all about phallic objects – including the actors – that is very reminiscent of Carlin’s “Rockets & Penises in the Persian Gulf.” In that early 1990s performance, Carlin pointed out all the phallic imagery in warfare and armaments.

Taking on another taboo that Carlin also memorably mined, Gould’s piece called “Chimps, Bears & JFK,” quickly relates information about monkey attacks to make a point about people objecting to jokes about rape. Gould notes that monkeys are programmed to first break a person’s jaw, then their hands and then their genitals, third and last, so the threatening person won’t rape them – as if someone with that damage would then still be interested in “a slice,” as Gould puts it. As Carlin once said, “Don’t say rape can’t be funny, I can prove it to you -- imagine Elmer Fudd raping Porky Pig.

In the end, “Mr. Funny Man” leaves the listener with little time to think, as Gould gets in and out of each comic premise quickly and concisely. Each of the little bits accumulates into a whole that is consistent in style even if it isn’t stretched-out storytelling comedy, as Gould has tended to do much more often in his material. By not dwelling too long on any one idea, Gould keeps you laughing without end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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