I just received a press copy of the new Patrice O’Neal album, Mr. P in the mail. There will be a full review of the album forthcoming but I thought the dedication written on the inside of the album by friend and fellow comedian Colin Quinn was touching and special.
I just finished listening to Patrice O’Neal’s new album.
If you want to understand what comedy is supposed to sound like, you have to listen to this. If you want to understand what a comedian is supposed to sound like, listen to this. If you want to listen to somebody who just can’t stop opening up about what he thinks of himself, and what he thinks of you, then listen to this album.
Patrice never “phoned it in,” because he couldn’t. When he performed a live set, the audiences were never allowed to be a group of anonymous people laughing at a man on stage doing his act. You had no choice but to be involved! He needed you to be involved. Contentious and antagonistic, he wants you to feel what he feels. The absurdity of this world. He couldn’t do a set without bringing in the audience if he wanted to. You can hear that on this album.
This recording covers all the same subjects that a lot of comedians cover. Race, politics, sex, etc. So then what makes it so special? It’s all the specifics. The point of view. The dialogue. The language. The unpredictability. You think you know where he’s coming from and then he takes a U-turn. “The only position I have is 3 AM till 4:15.” The word “OK.” “You hunt what you know you can catch.” “A lot of ouches now.” There’s about a hundred little moments that you can savor.
Patrice was a pure comedian. He didn’t play well with others. He burned all the bridges that came into his path. But that’s because he knew what he wanted to say and anything that twisted it or edited it softened it, he couldn’t tolerate.
He did not do comedy to be liked. This is a very important part of him. He did not do comedy to be accepted by the audience of the industry or anybody else. He did comedy because his mind was busting with opinions, ideas, and questions. He never catered or pandered to any audience, ethnicity or political taste. He never did what he was supposed to do, or said what he was supposed to say. That’s what made him great. So please enjoy this stand up comic named Patrice O’Neal, because you won’t see the likes of him anytime again.