Tom Papa’s first stand-up comedy album in six years hit the digital shelves this week. As expected, Live in New York City is a good one to say the least. Specifically, it speaks to our time more so than most recent comedy albums, and does not disappoint in terms of laughter. In his own un-sugarcoated and vibrant voice, the veteran comedian gives his sometimes sad and yet very funny take on just about everything including the Internet, Facebook, happiness, pets, alcohol, marijuana, marriage, children, health, the elderly, and lying.
When I first listened to the album, it was about 11 AM. I was coming down from a coffee rush, reading cliché Facebook posts, and had just spilled Cocoa Puff milk on my pants. In short, my privileged first world life was starting to feel rough. And then Tom Papa reminded me that we don’t get to be happy all the time; that we get only one day a year to expect happiness and its called our “birthday”; that none of us really “fit in.” He goes on further to explain life with this awesome metaphor: “Life is a pair of skinny jeans and you are a big fat ass.” Win.
Papa is certainly heavy on the jokes about marriage and children, and as a young whippersnapper, I have no experience with such things (I also refuse to make a bad joke about his last name being a synonym for father). All aside, my inexperience does not stop me from laughing for most of the hour, especially when he describes his animalistic children. “You ever open up a pack of M&Ms around little kids? They come at you like goats in a petting zoo—no hands, just heads. Bahhh.” Papa also refers to he and his wife as “business partners in this awful non-profit organization.” However, as much as the comedian talks about the pains of marriage and raising children, he still argues that it’s better than being alone.
Papa moves on to talk about health, diabetic cats, marijuana, and “gross” old people, but he still keeps the theme of family in tact, which is great in my opinion. It’s more real that way. If a comedian tells a bit about his family, moves on to a story about a recent smoke out with Snoop Dogg, and then forgets to mention that he probably shouldn’t be there at all because he has kids, it eventually seems a little less plausible in the whole scheme of material. For example, Papa tells a story about sneaking away from his wife at a musical to go smoke a joint in the bathroom—I can see that happening and his description of events is hilarious.
I’ll also go ahead and say “nice job” to the guy who introduces Papa on the album (ed note: Rick Crom). He did his job and got me as pumped as I could be at the time. Those hype men don’t get enough love.
All in all, Live in New York City is a solid album and a great add to any comedy collection. I suggest you buy it if you can. The Comedy Central special premiered on Sunday January 8th, but you can enjoy a clip here. Not to mention, Papa recruited Rob Zombie to direct it and that’s rad.