Wyatt Cenac – Comedy Person
Best known for his work on the Daily Show, Comedy Person is Wyatt Cenac’s hour comedy special, which was released back in 2011. If you are expecting political humor, then Comedy Person may not be quite what you expected. That disclaimer being claimed, the album is fantastic. And for those hard-core Daily Show fans who weirdly have little interest in actual stand-up (I’m sure there are at least fourteen of you out there somewhere) an introduction from John Hodgman will serve to satisfy your Daily Show needs. Cenac’s recorded special demonstrates the comedians intelligence and writing ability without flaunting it, or shoving it your face. When you listen to someone like Bill Hicks or Joe DeRosa, they make you aware of the fact that they are the smartest person in the room. By contrast, any careful listener will realize that Cenac operates on a high level of intelligence, yet the performer displays this intellect without the ego of insisting you acknowledge his smarts.
Some of the jokes he tells (the cat video bit) require some deep thought at parts, and a lesser comedian could easily drop the ball in conveying the crucial components to the set up, but Cenac navigates the concepts with eloquent and efficient timing and vocal stress at all the right moments.
In addition to this, I always appreciate any move to challenge the form of stand-up. Personally, I thought fellow Daily Show correspondent Kristen Schaal’s special was a great artistic experiment and endeavor, (I’ll probably do one of these for her later) but I understand for the casual viewer how the uniqueness of the performance could have gone unappreciated. Cenac, on the other hand, makes small moves here and there that deviate from the “standard form.” Early on, he distinguishes the differences in experience that the live audience and the people listening at home/watching the special on TV will have.
Now, I know. This review is two years overdue. Sue me, I checked it out at the library. So why is this relevant? Because Mr. Cenac has just finished recording his new CD in Brooklyn, and it should be coming out in the near future. And if you see it on the Internet in the next few months and think, “Oh that looks interesting, but before I pay five dollars, maybe I should go check out his earlier stuff…” (which can be found at your local library if you live in an area that supports cool stuff like free information and entertainment as provided by a wonderful combination of the social contract, federal government and the public tax base) then you will know, that not only is the upcoming album by Wyatt Cenac worth looking into, but that Comedy Person is a delight and if you don’t mind going down to the most delightful place on Earth (THE LIBRARY) then you might even be able to check it out for free.
Or buy it on iTunes or a store and give the money to the the artist, but really, if you were a real Wyatt Cenac fan, you would already have Comedy Person.
If you have no idea who Wyatt Cenac is, how in the hell did you make it down this far? Educate yourself here: