There’s a saying, “Every musician thinks he’s a comedian. Every comedian think he’s a rockstar.” If that’s the case, the new album and special, Big Jay Oakerson: Live at Webster Hall, is the manifesto. The first minute is an introduction encapsulated in a blast of metal music. Oakerson immediately identifies his “bizarre fan base,” and makes note of an Asian guy who will become a bit later in the set. As a master of crowd work, he’s looking to create a special setlist just for the immediate audience that intertwines his prepared material seamlessly.
Like any rock’n’roller, Oakerson is an instigator. He asks the audience questions, “Is that your girl right there?” “How old are you, sweetie?” “Do you have kids?” He follows up these questions by imparting the wisdom of someone who’s been around, “Try to make a move. You know her, right?” “Don’t get married to the chick you found when you were 21.” “I did that [had a kid] 13 years ago; it is quite a price…” The dad who wears a wallet chain has an incredible amount of credits to his name, including: Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, IFC’s Z-Rock, Louie, Showtime’s Billions, BET, HBO, Comedy Central, Inside Amy Schumer, and SiriusXM. This barely captures his 17 years of comedy. During the show, he covers sex, men and women, body parts, relationships, and insecurities. He is verbally laying down his tracks, and it feels intimate.
With the chumminess, Oakerson is also dirty, and everyone is a target including his 13 year old daughter, his step dad and his step dad’s privates, his real dad and his privates, and his friend Dave. All of them and the audience becomes a part of a series of hilarious inappropriate punchlines. His word choice for his quips even have a subtle cleverness. When telling his daughter what is achievable, he states she could never be an astronaut, but she could definitely be a small business owner. It’s a unique statement on the classic observation of how to tell kids they are special. When he tags a joke, it happens again. He asks an 18 year old if she would sleep the previously mentioned Asian guy, a 34 year old. She declines, citing that he is too old. Oakerson does not miss a beat in firing back, “Alright, her dad’s still alive. Big deal.”
His topics have all the classics of an edgy, dark comedian: racism, incest, and pedophilia. All the while, he avoids the played out scenario, and sometimes goes straight into the absurd. On more than one occasion he takes the audience down a path of shock filled laughter followed by “I made it up” or “it’s a fake story.” He plays for the laugh. Sometimes he is reaching for that unison groan from the crowd. Oakerson pleads that he has to go for an older woman. More than once he says this until finally revealing he would go as old as 75.
In Live at Webster Hall, Oakerson executes a no holds barred album and special. He shocks and entertains. He starts off with “Getting To Know You,” and near the end, he’s on about “Butt Stuff.” Even as he instigates bewilderment, he remains vulnerable and eloquent. He pushes the limits while keeping everyone on board. He’s the voice, and everyone is laughing. That’s rock’n’roll, man.
Big Jay Oakerson: Live at Webster Hall premieres with limited commercial interruption on Friday, June 17th at midnight ET/PT on Comedy Central and drops as an album Tuesday, June 21st on Comedy Central Records. You can get that right here.