This year was an embarrassment of riches when it came to new comedic talent taping specials and albums. Comedians spend countless hours developing material for their act before they tape their material for the first time ever, and that’s what we’re recapping now. The TLB staff selected their favorite comedians that released debut specials or comedy albums in 2014.
Mark Says Hi: Mark Normand Still Got It!
I’ve been waiting for an album from Mark for quite a while now and when it finally came I couldn’t have been any happier. Not only was it great, but it was worth the wait. Coupled with the success of his podcast Tuesdays with Stories, Mark has delivered the one-two punch of the year for me.
Zach Shaw: Mark Normand Still Got It
I first discovered Normand after seeing him perform at Hot Soup’s weekly underground show in NYC. Seeing him onstage and hearing his new album convinced me that he has a bright future in comedy.
Blake Garris: Morgan Murphy Irish Goodbye
I don’t laugh out loud listening to stand-up records very often because I am dead inside but this one did me in a couple times. Also, Morgan doesn’t follow me on Twitter and she’s making a huge mistake.
Olivia Cathcart: Andy Sandford Me The Whole Time & Mark Normand Still Got It (tie)
There were a handful of truly amazing albums and specials out this year. Jared Logan, Dan Mintz, Nick Vatterott really hit it out of the park and secured a spot in my own personal Top 10 list in my brain. Not surprising as all four had also previously put out amazing Comedy Central half hour specials that I enjoy.
Mark Normand had his Half Hour premiere just three days after his first album, Still Got It, an album that immediately became one of my favorites. Each track is laugh-out-loud funny. Normand offers a unique perspective told with a smooth delivery punctuated by his “old timey auctioneer” voice. It’s too good to ignore here. There’s a reason everyone’s been singing Normand’s praises (cause he’s funny, like really, really funny).
Andy Sandford also secured a strong hold in my personal top 10 with his debut album, Me the Whole Time. In fact, he was the only one without a special (half hour- or full) under his belt to make my brain’s ranks. It’s simple why, there’s really no weak points in his album. He starts strong and finishes strong. He’s a comic who’s found his voice and it’s one that sets him apart from the herd. His album is a smart, refreshing set that hits a range of short jokes to longer stories. If you haven’t heard it yet, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
Matt Kleinschmidt: Dan Mintz The Stranger
Geeze! This is hands-down the most difficult category of them all. For there were some absolutely stellar debuts this year – Mark Normand, Nick Vatterott, and Andy Sandford to name a few. But I’m going to have to go with Dan Mintz for my choice. From the twist his jokes hold to the absolutely great dry delivery. It was like listening to Tina Belcher tell Mitch Hedberg jokes. I really think Dan Mintz could be this generation’s Stephen Wright. So there’s that.