Jesse Popp debuts more complicated cultural fodder comedy with a less sophisticated style
By Michael Shashoua / Jester Editor-In-Chief
A relatively new stand-up comic on the scene, Jesse Popp, has released his first album “You Stink,” digitally from Comedy Central. Popp has some original material and a sharp attitude to go with it.
Popp’s topics aren’t particularly weighty but he does rip into them quite well. One highlight: On “Docs,” he talks about getting by without health insurance and ending up seeing a doctor whose degree is from the “Autonomous University of Guadalajara.”
He also draws inspiration from historical topics and figures. For instance, on “Last Breaths,” he imagines what would happen if Thomas Edison was resurrected (as Henry Ford apparently thought might be possible) – no one would really be impressed by his inventions if they already knew how to resurrect the dead.
In “Buffoons,” Popp points out some instances of political correctness gone overboard – a dirty joke book that replaces a racial slur with the word “buffoons,” thus negating the racism but also the joke at the same time. And, similarly, “Huckleberry Finn” was recently republished renaming the character “Slave Jim,” which is still somewhat awkward, Popp recalls.
These bits are a little different than standard observational humor, and Popp also has a bit of Paul F. Tompkins style surrealism at times in his act. On “A Most Unusual Diet,” Popp imagines someone setting a world record by eating an entire airplane, thus throwing a whole new wrinkle into airport security. Some of the tracks contain more than one piece, and this is one of those, as Popp goes on to riff about rumors that Elvis faked his own death. “Even when people said they saw him, it didn’t seem like he was getting his act together. It was always in a truck stop eating pancakes or in a bar – never making a salad or pricing NordicTracks. That guy died in the woods in 1985.”
All in all, Jesse Popp projects a little bit of a simple, maybe vaguely Southern or hickish, persona – but one who can pull all these pop culture or general culture topics into his material. His debut definitely has some funny highlights to it, but one wonders how deep he can go, or at least how far he can take the style and sensibility he has.
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© 2005-2017 Michael Shashoua