Comedy fans might remember Patrice O’Neal’s voice from the Comedy Central TV show Shorties watchin’ Shorties, and his appearance on HBO’s One Night Stand. At the end of Louis C.K.’s most recent stand-up special Live at the Beacon Theater Patrice’s name ominously appears at the end in a move that dedicated the entire special to him. A beloved comedian in his own community, O’Neal died last November from complications following a stroke. He left behind his latest C.D. Mr. P which is available in stores and on Itunes.
Patrice opens up with something he is very well known for: working the crowd. He does this because he “likes to get to know the people who he’s trying to make laugh.” But really it’s a ploy to get the audience’s guard down and exploit it for humor. He creates awkward moments and flares up tensions between couples.
Among the topics covered he talks about the recent Arab Spring, heightened gas prices and the TSA. When talking about the TSA, Patrice comments on the inequality of expertise. On the one hand you have a trained terrorist that can shoot a gun and hit targets the size of an apple in rapid succession. On the other hand you have a stagnant obese TSA agent. Patrice adds, “I get it. I’m a fat motherf***er. But I should not be protecting your life. I love my laziness more than I love your life.”
In Patrice’s comedic mind, the fact that we take off our shoes and use all the X-ray technology is because the TSA doesn’t actually want to work! Who knew it? All this time I was worried that these uptight agents that failed security guard school were out to protect me. But in fact they’re just out to do as little as possible throughout the day. Just like me.
In a move that totally comes out of left field, O’Neal shamelessly goes after Obama. He has sparse praise for the man claiming that “Obama’s purpose is to make us all stop hating Bush.” To him the presidency is much more a “tradition” rather than a “position.” But don’t worry it’s not all serious political criticism. He goes on to liken the federal income tax to slavery and casually talks about the racial tensions in a reduced tone of seriousness yet with a hint of authenticity. Most of the time I was wrestling with the question, “How serious is he being right now and how much is he trying to make me laugh?” Being able to straddle that line in comedy is gold.
The album stands at seventy four minutes which is longer than most comedy albums. A lot of it feels very free flowing and open as if he’s working non-linearly through his topics. Interspersed Patrice works the crowd off the cuff and creates spontaneous and genuine hilarity. Patrice will be sorely missed but not forgotten with laughs like these.
About the Author: Nate Rankin writes Comedy Reviews and Fiction because no one taught him any better. His fiction has been featured by Workers Writes, theNewerYork! and Used Gravitrons and is forthcoming in The Green Blotter. His work can be seen here: http://iamseamus.tumblr.com/writing You can find him on the Tweety Box @CommanderSeamus If you'd like to submit a review inquiry please send to nrankin22[at]gmail[dot]com