James Fritz takes self deprecation to a whole new level on his latest album, Still Together. He finds away to disenfranchise people who share similar identity attributes as him including Americans, Southerners, white people, men, and anyone with the last name Fritz. It’s appears the comic asked himself who he was and realized there’s a lot of material here. He is introduced as funny “even when he is too drunk to talk,” and even though he is an admitted drunk with bits about it, he presents articulate, sobering jokes.
The album opens with Fritz creating his persona. He drinks a lot, and he is from the South. The comic riffs on how he was valedictorian, but he still remains to be the “biggest idiot in the room.” He is playing on the stereotype of Southerners being dumb. The setup is a great base in which to be critical. He picks heavy topics like the Orlando shooter from last June, and assuming the role of dumb guy helps to manifests a misfortune like this into something more palatable and lose. It prevents his jokes from being pretentious, and it strengthens the satire in his storytelling.
He roasts his family, saying he “comes from a long line of party ruiners.” Fearlessly, Fritz gets dark and deep. He pokes at his dad’s sadness and its relation to death. He tells a story of tragedy between a cousin and uncle. The punches are centric to identifying as a hillbilly. It makes Jeff Foxworthy look like a Disney special for toddlers. His reactive analysation of the events are punchy and laugh worthy. Living away from his family has created enough space for the comic to find the ridiculousness happening in his family’s lives.
His disgruntled feelings from where he comes from is engaging, and he expresses that disappointment very well. He likens his parents marriage to a damaged bathroom door he had growing up. His heartache from this relationship and from his own relationships are raw. The vulnerability displayed aids the transitions when Fritz switches gears about race and gender. His observations are simple and clever. Such as changing the name of the Redskins, he points out it how it would cost the stubborn white people nothing to rename the team. He supports this with the lack of concern when the Colts transformed to the Ravens. He continues to satirize the situation by suggesting the team be called the “Washington I-Love-You-Sons.” The build through his rants are sturdily constructed.
The album ends on sexism in politics, on car rides, and through radio ads. His ability to empathize with women is amazing. Maybe it is because he is able to pick apart his own identity. Either way, James Fritz is compelling to listen to. He can comfortably expose his shortcomings as a white male on a personal level and on a societal one. Still Together is a declaration that despite how gloomy the world can get, something remains to be prodded and laughed at.