Mitch Hedberg “Mitch All Together” (2003)
Mitch Hedberg passed away in 2005 at age thirty-seven, but has earned a cult following for his surreal, one-liner jokes. The Minnesota native appeared on the Late Show With David Letterman several times during his career, and released three comedy albums including Do You Believe In Gosh, which was recorded in Ontario, California two months before his death. In 2003, Hedberg recorded Mitch All Together at the Acme Comedy Club in Minneapolis, which delivers gut-busting laughs about his club sandwhich membership, the hard times of vending machine owners and acting with Peter Frampton. The album’s title is a reference to a joke on Hedberg’s 1999 album Strategic Grill Locations. If you are looking for true out-of-the-box humor from outer space, then Mitch Hedberg is your man.
Aziz Ansari “Intimate Moments For A Sensual Evening” (2010)
Aziz Ansari appeared on Comedy Central’s Roast of James Franco earlier this week, and was ripped for his friendship with Kanye West which he discussed on his 2010 debut album Intimate Moments For A Sensual Evening. The audio is from Ansari’s Comedy Central television special filmed in Brentwood, California. The Parks and Recreation star discusses terrorizing his cousin on Facebook, his peculiar night on the town with Kanye West and how R. Kelly can have sex with invisible women.
Eddie Murphy “Greatest Comedy Hits” (1997)
Eddie Murphy captured the attention of America as a cast member of Saturday Night Live from 1980-1984, and made audiences pee with laughter in his early films such as 48 Hrs, Trading Places and Beverly Hills Cop. The Brooklyn-born comic released his first album, Comedian, in 1982 and released two legendary television specials with Delirious (1983) and Eddie Murphy Raw (1987). I highly recommend all of Murphy’s early material, but check out Greatest Comedy Hits for a quick laugh. The compilation was produced by Murphy, and covers topics such as the female fascination with singers, the joy of seeing the ice cream man and getting hit by a car on Bushwick Avenue in Brooklyn.
Louis C.K. “Chewed Up” (2008)
Louis Szekely aka Louis C.K. has been on the stand-up circuit for decades, but found a mainstream audience with his FX television series Louie. The comedian has earned three Primetime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, and also writes, directs and edits Louie as well. Louis C.K.’s stand-up material is highly offensive to some, but his observations will make you re-think the world we live in and why America accepts outrageous ideas as social norms. Chewed Up was recorded in Boston on March 1st, 2008, the same day that George Carlin recorded his last television special. The legendary comedian passed away a few months later, and Louis C.K. dedicated Chewed Up to Carlin. The album features Louis C.K.’s thoughts on offensive words, his lack of love for deer and how to process shame. This is the work of a modern comedic master.
Lenny Bruce “The Lenny Bruce Originals Volume 2”
Lenny Bruce was ranked third in Comedy Central’s Greatest Standups of All Time, and paved the way for free speech of the modern comedian. His social commentary of the 60s was highly controversial (and misunderstood), as he took aim at taboo topics such as race, sexuality and dirty words. Any Lenny Bruce album is worth listening to, but my favorite on Spotify is The Lenny Bruce Comedy Originals Volume 2. The comedian discusses his appearance on the Steve Allen show, and how one particular joke was perceived as too offensive to Jews (Bruce was Jewish), but also to Gentiles. Love him or hate him, Lenny Bruce was an original, free-thinking mind who backed down from nobody.