Here’s an old joke for you; how many punk rockers does it to change a light bulb? Two, one to change the bulb, and one to yell out, “That’s so punk rock.” Here’s another one for you. How many punk rockers does it take to create a comedy album? One, JT Habersaat. He has a new album out, Misanthrope. On it, he’s very vocal about his punk rock credentials, and he really does not like a lot of people. The title is pretty accurate.
Habersaat is crotchety. He hates his neighbor. He hates millennials. He hates Sarah Palin. He describes hell as “listening to all the other d#ckheads around you complaining for all eternity.” Habersaat delivers his jokes like an old man found at a dive bar in the early afternoon doling out his version of the world. Considering the way the comedian describes his fan base as “punk rockers and drunkards,” this is not really an insult.
Habersaat starts by introducing himself. He begins by defining who he is and who is a part of his fan base. He gets mistaken for the guy from Mythbusters, quite the opposite of a punk rock persona. He describes an encounter with a fan, a man he describes as a “meth-head racist.” Whether or not this fan really was a hateful druggie, does not matter. It works for the joke, and it sets up what to expect from this album– a lot angry storytelling and hypotheticals. He describes touring and the people he has met. The people in his stories become the unfortunate joke as characters. It isn’t so much what exactly these are characters are saying as much as Habersaat expresses an emotional distress towards them. He even makes analyzing scenarios emotional from a rant about a vandalized Jack’N’Box emblem to the science of True Blood vampire secretions.
His style embodies punk rock. Like punk rock being the alternative to the mainstream, his jokes are the alternative dark thoughts. The laugh comes from the context. They are situations or observations fueled with the perspective of someone unhappy with their environment. He embodies the angst commonly found in punk. He prompts himself with repetitive rhetorical questions like, “What do they always say,” on the news covering a tragedy or when explaining hell for an atheist, “What does that mean?” He proposes an alternative point of view, and for much of it, he goes big for the shock from justifying choking hazards for four year olds to fantasies of murder. Habersaat is extreme, but it is something punk rockers can appreciate.
So, JT Habersaat did it. He made comedy into punk rock. Misanthrope has the angst, the alternative perspective, and the edginess. He puts on show, and anyone on the outskirts of the mainstream will get it.
You can pick up your copy of Misanthrope by JT Habersaat right here.