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His comedic songs are funny, but it's the little things about seeing Stephen Lynch live that make him, well...

As a twisted troubador, Stephen Lynch, seen in performance at the Borgata in Atlantic City on September 1, has a rabid following that knows some of his songs to the point where they’re shouting out requests until they annoy the man.

But it doesn’t matter. Lynch cultivates the element of surprise by playing up his rock style influences like Springsteen and Lynyrd Skynyrd in the tunes of his comedic songs, strummed on a sole guitar, and as if he was windmilling a power chord home, he drops the punchlines offhandedly into the lyrics. And fittingly for Atlantic City, or “fake Vegas” as Lynch called it at one point in the show, he started out the show from among the audience a la Elvis in his Vegas gigs, although Lynch got up to this stage as fast as he could and later called the idea “retarded.”

Just a few of Lynch’s hits include, “Baby,” with its refrain, “Man, what an ugly-ass baby!” and “Special” with the chorus “Special Ed, he’s not right in the head…” And Lynch had some new creations to throw into the mix like a profanity-ridden tribute to the Peanuts comic strip gang with a loudly grunted “Peanuts!” as its chorus. Profanity-ridden here was not a bad thing though, it added to a sardonic take on hapless Charlie Brown (like “the only fucking bald boy in second grade.”)

Lynch dealt quite politely but firmly with several idiotic but bold hecklers, including some who responded to his opening up a song about Thomas Jefferson and interracial sex by shouting out stuff like “Don Imus” and “Duke lacrosse.” Actually, he also took this on by saying sarcastically, “I know there’s no racism in New Jersey … as I look out at my entirely white audience.”

The second part of Lynch’s act strays away from this successful formula, at times in priceless fashion and at other times a little too far. Aided by accomplices Rob Cohen and David Josefsberg, Lynch presents a dirty version of vaudeville shtick, and a bit of a rehash of some of the world’s oldest jokes. This worked with a bawdy song about cunnilingus called “Cream of Wife (In My Beard),” but not as well with some seemingly unscripted banter between the trio as this part of the show progressed.

Still, one has to give Lynch credit for doing more than just rehashing his songs and trying a few different things as part of the show. His own between-songs patter includes some material and quick bits that add to the experience. Not all of the extras of Lynch’s show work, but enough do to make it worth seeing and hearing him live, not just on DVD or CD.




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