Monday, January 6, 2014

Dobie Maxwell “Hard Luck Jollies”

( After a lifetime in the comedy biz, Midwestern stand-up veteran Dobie Maxwell has released his second ever (and first not sold at truckstops) album, and there a few notable elements to it. The first is that Maxwell, while not a young, edgy, Comedy Central blah blah blah kid, has some serious chops. His decades of comedy experience have helped Maxwell develop his sad sack/hard luck stage persona, Mr. Lucky, which he more poetically calls “The Dented Can,” as in, his less-than-perfect background makes him damaged and less desirable to some, but the soggy green beans inside him are just as delicious as those in the non-dented cans on the full-price shelf. Because the act of standing up in front of a sometimes skeptical, usually inebriated room of yokels and begging them for laughs involves so much vulnerability, desperation, and chance of failure, almost all standup comedy has an undercoat of melancholy and damage, and it’s a real testament to Maxwell that he can combine honest revelations about his challenging childhood and well-honed professional skills to make the old lovable loser character distinct and his own. Another notable thing about this album is that Maxwell is apparently a huge P-Funk fan, though his comedy is not exactly funk adjacent. This is expressed with the P-Funk parody album title, and artwork by Funkadelic gatefold genius Pedro Bell. Even if that’s just a footnote, it’s a big foot that’s pretty notable. Of final notability, Maxwell supplements this live set with a faux radio interview with WGN deejay Jerry Agar, and best yet, following the footsteps of Eddie Murphy, Neil Hamburger and so many others, he has a bonus musical track, though his theme song is more folky than pop radio oriented.

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