TJ Miller has multiple film credits including: Get Him to the Greek, Yogi Bear, Our Idiot Brother and Cloverfield. He has appeared twice on Conan and is frequently a member of the “round table” on Chelsea Lately. The comedy on his album The Extended Play is not traditional stand-up comedy. Rather, TJ goes into the studio with a over a dozen guest comedian/musicians and produces an ambitious 41 track album. The guest list of this album includes: Doug Benson, Pete Holmes, Bo Burnham Seth Weitberg and Christina Anthony. Now not all tracks are equal, the shortest one comes in at a paltry 4 seconds. Nevertheless The Extended Play works well in two ways using novel humor that parodies and satirizes much of the oft heard commercial rap of today but also offers a comedically dense side with clever puns and fresh wit.
For the majority of the album TJ dons the contradicting character of a self obsessed yet self effacing rapper. After the opening Prelude—because how many albums start with a song anymore—the MC hits the listener with the tracks “DJ Stop N Talk” and “TJ Miller.” In the first the DJ is absolutely preoccupied with breaking into his song so that the listener will get just exactly what he’s saying. On the second one he uses excessive and unnecessary similes meant to describe and inflate his rapper alter ego but instead the lyrics and word games end up poking at and smearing himself.
Maybe the funniest track on the CD is “Yin Yang Friends” in which TJ describes himself and co-rapper Bo Burnham as “ebony and ivory except we’re both ivory…” What ensues is a pair of white guys from Colorado and Massachusetts attempting gangster rap. It works well until it turns out they’re only half as original as they thought. The rap then turns into a game of one upsmanship as each rapper tries to put the other one down in further denigrating, humiliating but equally hilarious ways.
In his on going five part series TJ hosts the Rap Battles of the Century. These tracks vary from his supposed confusion about the terms of a rap battle to his outright unwillingness to even compete either out of anger or intimidation. The only real battle occurs when TJ battles…himself. Part V is a rap battle concocted by the two egos of TJ. “Stand-up Comedian/Actor” vs. “Self-Obsessed Egotistical Rapper.” After this one track the listener could probably guess Miller’s entire IMDB page as well as his greatest insecurities about himself.
Another gem is “Special Individual,” a sappy over the top pop mix where TJ is trying convince his female listeners that it’s all right and even special to be a woman…You know, as long as you still know how to cook and sew. In Miller’s own words, “what’s inside of you can be anything it could be HPV or a wedding ring.”
Full of self referential comedy gold, TJ Miller is on the forefront of advancing comedy past traditional stand-up. Combined with a strong production and a whole cast of guest voices, The Extended Play is well worth the buy for only $10.
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