Review: Pete Holmes “Impregnated With Wonder”
Fasten your seatbelts because Pete Holmes is taking us for a wild ride! You can tell just by the album art alone that we’re trekking through Holmes’ imaginarium that if we like it half as much as he, we might in fact, shit our pants.
Holmes’ first stand-up album is the comedy equivalent of a hurricane – blustering into the room, blowing us around us for a period of time, then blasting out as we’re left to sift through the wreckage wondering exactly what just happened. From the moment Wonder begins and without even having a visual, you can tell Holmes is all smiles, with his cherub-like “fat Val Kilmer” looks. We have a wired E-Trade baby on our hands and he couldn’t be more excited to tell us his stories. This is perhaps the best way to describe Holmes’ comedic style, he’s not telling jokes, rather he’s just at the dinner table with some friends simply being hilarious. It’s warm, it’s great, and you feel even closer to your pal Pete when you are in the presence of his “fun dad” demeanor.
Impregnated With Wonder is also impressive in how little filler there is to it. Aside from a few extra squeezes of jokes there are few moments that aren’t completely working toward the hilarious bust-up. Holmes makes his material seem as effortless as any comedian’s been able to do on record this year. It’s entirely his own act and with this comfort of storytelling in tact Holmes is able to play around with the willing crowd – yelling off the handle for accentuation, speaking in different voices, meanwhile making every joke he has better in the process.
While it’s really difficult to single out any one particular moment on the album, Holmes absolutely nails it when he runs through his internal thoughts about non-fiction definitions and the ways he kills time on the internet. When Holmes goes into jags calling out friend’s names and asking them to gather supplies (Pieeerce!) his ability to sell a joke is at its highest. The premise is simple, but it’s delivered with such flair with the perfect touch of audience participation that it’s impossible to not follow his instructions and repeat the joke to ourselves the next day in the shower. It’s so good, it makes us feel like the king of America!
As the album steamrolls to an end Holmes pulls out a heavy hitter about kids. He takes the stance that being an adult is way better re-imagining what it was actually like when we were 10 and all the things we can do as adults that a child cannot do; breaking it down to the simplest level of why adulthood is way better. I’m not going to ruin any of the jokes, but know that heavy machinery should not be operated while listening…and we should not desire to be like Bradley.
I’m easily over the 10 listens mark on Impregnated With Wonder and the album has still yet to tire. In fact, I’ve found myself playing it for more and more of my friends. Pete Holmes, is the rare mix of comedian that has the ability to mine everyday topics, make them hilarious and intelligent, work relatively clean (something I didn’t realize until the 3rd listen), appeal to a broad audience, and deliver it with such energy and fun you can’t but help for root for the man. It’s a must-own record for anyone serious about comedy. Congratulations Mr. Holmes, you just delivered one of the best comedy albums of 2011.