It took me a while to get into Myq Kaplan’s latest offering, the nerd-heavy Meat Robot. Not because I’m outside his demographic, which he outlines on the first few minutes of the album, or because I’m averse to math, but because at first his approach can seem predictable and reaching.
Before managing to cover an array of topics, from lesbian grandmas to eating babies, incest to taking mushrooms, he kicked off by introducing himself as 33 and Jewish (“we don’t believe in happiness”). He then engaged his audience, defining his demographic as “those who know the word demographic,” followed by how he doesn’t think he’s better than most people (“accept for people who say things like, WHAT, DO YOU THINK YOU’RE BETTER THAN ME?”). This leads to an English lesson, (“technically it’s better than I”) in which he tells the story about his grandmother (‘Gramma’) being such a stickler about grammar, she didn’t even let him say, “This is fun” as a child.
It’s in those stories where Kaplan’s talents really start to take shape. He shines in his sarcastic self-awareness (“A lot of people mistake me for gay, I am a vegan, that is the confusion.”) and in contradicting expressions, playing with language and dissecting commonalities. His delivery is unique, although seemingly rushed, and is intellectually sound and provocative. He is a master pun-ist, a punisher if you will, and excels at playing with words, going off on a tangent of fake fake meat names, including fake chicken called “ficktion” or “chicken pretenders” and fake venison, named “ven-isnt”. While some of his puns are so groan-worthy even he can’t help but ‘a-ball-ogize,’ he demonstrates a genuine knack for the mechanics and structure of language.
The best part of the album is in the final track, “Super Mario and Will Smith,” where Kaplan retells of a fan telling him jokes after a show. Kaplan suspects the jokes will be racist for a myriad of reasons, but instead, the jokes wind up being hilariously innocent. In his relaying his reasoning behind his assumption, Kaplan manages to give us a glimpse into just how smart his stream of comedy consciousness really is. While the album wasn’t my favorite, I would not hesitate to see him perform live as it seems his linguistic improv skills would be best experienced live.