Wednesday, November 01, 2006

"Shove 'Em Up There Again, Dennehy!"

Patton Oswalt and the Pennsylvania Macaroni Company CD EP

I was browsing about a couple weeks ago and discovered that Chunklet is selling this limited-edition CD, which captures the last 18.5 minutes of the Comedians of Comedy tour's stop in Chicago this spring (I was there). This is the only time I've paid $18 or so for something so short. Hell, I usually won't spend that on a full-length album 'cause it's a rip. This catches three bits after Patton Oswalt's set, when Eugene Mirman, Brian Posehn, and Maria Bamford joined him onstage. At this point in the evening, all four have done pretty damn good sets on their own and people are having a good time but are exhausted.

"If you guys are wondering, 'Oh, my God, I wish I could travel in a van with these great, funny, awesome people!' No you don't," Patton says, and the group recreates some of its road-spawned in-jokes, which turn out to be funnier than most of the road stuff in the Comedians Of Comedy documentary. These jokes are ways for the comedians to torture each other and/or themselves on the road, so at this point they're perversely dragging things out for the audience. It's like having a prank played on you and enjoying and admiring it from setup to finish.

The title joke gets more and more convoluted as it goes on. Patton's tourmates force him to make up songs, in the style of Leon Redbone, about the Pennsylvania Macaroni Company, which he spotted on the road near Pittsburgh. The subjects of the songs keep getting trickier to improvise around: Does the company have any specials today? Do you have any health-code violations we should know of? Can you tell us something about the founders? And what he says keeps getting more ridiculous. He refers to the last of those as a "fucking Cormac McaCarthy novel." Then Eugene asks him to list the company's pastas in alphabetical order, and he does that pretty well, and remember, he still has to answer in the form of a Leon Redbone-style song. I don't think I'd enjoy this as much if I hadn't been there, though--it just makes it better to know that the show had already been building for a couple of hours, with Patton drinking a lot of Scotch throughout. It's great to see four comedians just riffing off each other without any of them having to, say, take a shit in a bucket.

No comments: