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Intelligent Comedy - A Review of Sean Kent's CD, "Sex, Drugs, and Politics"by Mike DeGeorge -- 09/26/05
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Comedian Sean Kent is a study in fate. The good news was, back in 2003 he made it onto a new NBC reality show called Last Comic Standing. The bad news? Oh, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and there was a good chance he might not have been alive to even see the show air. You might understand how being just out of his frist treatments may have made him a bit grumpy. He became most famous on the show, unfairly, I might add, for being a complainer.
Obviously, Sean survived (you can read about his adventures in my interview with him here.) and went on to compete on Last Comic Standing 3. But the damage had been done. Even though he had a killer set, and like many of the other early evictees, he couldn’t compete with established characters like Ralphie May and Alonzo Bodden. Unlike most of the comics, Last Comic Standing was not the career boost for Sean that it should have been.
Which is a shame. In our interview, I found Sean to be a funny, personable guy and I wished nothing but success for him. Which is why when Sean asked me to review his new CD, Sex, Drugs, and Politics, (available exclusively at Sean’s website) I jumped at the chance. Not only will I be able to give Sean some publicity, but hey, I got a CD full of Sean Kent’s best material. Fear not, gentle reader (boy, does that sound lame), this review will be nothing but honest, even if I am already a fan.
Recorded live in Kansas City in August of 2005, the CD is a rarity in comedy. It presents his entire set, warts and all, not just the parts that kill. He doesn’t cut out the parts that don’t get big laughs, which is fine by me as at least twice, a joke seemed to bomb that I thought was very funny. So instead of feeling like you’re listening to a heavily produced cable special, it feels like you’re there in the club, right down to the annoying woman who won’t stop going “woooo!” For a comedy purist like me, that’s a big compliment. It’s a far more intimate and personal setting, and I wish every comedy CD were recorded like this.
As a result, the tracks are quite a bit longer than usual, from 5 to 15 minutes, because Sean tends to get on a theme and rant, switching topics on a whim. If you followed the link above, yes, the topic list is accurate, so you can imagine what I mean. And it’s not that hackneyed “So, anyone see that hurricane?” No, the topics flow naturally, which is a welcome switch.
Following the format of my previous CD reviews, I will go through each track individually and then summarize:
Good Evening, Kansas City: The intro. Sean immediately goes into the crowd work, and segues into a five minute segment about the weather and sports, then merges the two in the funniest steroid joke you’ll ever hear.
The Freak Show: The theme here is TV, including reality TV. He mentions LCS, kind of, before moving on to Martha Stewart, Donald Trump, and Oprah (stopping off at Hooter’s and stripping) before eviscerating Jessica Simpson. You think you’ve heard all the Jessica Simpson jokes ever? Think again.
Sex: Marriage and sex, and lack thereof, are next. Highlights include the crowd work with the woman who yells “woooo!” when he brings up anal sex. That’s just the kind of crowd response every comedian dreams of. He moves right on to the Supreme Court and the Terry Schiavo case, involving his mom and his wife (not to mention Alabama) in howlingly funny and staggeringly inappropriate material. I just wish I could share the funniest joke in the whole CD here, but I simply can’t.
Drugs: We start off with medical marijuana, which he’s legitimately a proponent of due to his cancer treatment (although one gets the idea he was not exactly averse to it before). He proceeds to refute the arguments against legalized pot, such as driving while stoned, versus other drugs including alcohol. He also hits the War on Drugs ads, mushrooms, painkillers (with a side of PMS), talking to mom while stoned, and… capitalism? Sean has told me before that one thing he wants to do with his comedy is make people think, and I’d imagine this is one of the subjects he’s talking about.
Politics: Sean is, shall we say, not a fan of President W and the Religious Reich, and it shows here. Honestly, if you’re on the same side, you’ll find this chapter hilarious. If you’re not… well, I wouldn’t know. But I’d imagine you could take hold of the Mississippi bashing. Unless you’re a Republican from Mississippi, I suppose. Gay marriage, evolution, education, the military, torture, hunting… don’t worry, it’s not all one big political lecture like some comics. It’s just all funny.
Outtake: A different form of crowd work, where he screams at a particularly annoying heckler. The slow burn that leads into a full-fledged rant and back again is just inspiring. This track also includes a bit of bonus footage from the “sex” portion of our show.
Your Genitals Are Evil: A hilarious old-fashioned campfire singalong extolling the Religious Reich’s preached evils of our reproductive organs. True story, I first listened to this in the car on my way to a business lunch where our VP of Marketing would also be attending. I was doubled over with laughter in my car and was really worried that I’d be singing it in the restaurant.
Screw the World: After the highlight of the previous track, quite a disappointing ending. I’m not really sure what he was going for on this, as he sings in a French voice about wanting to screw everybody.
One of my favorite aspects of comedy is crowd work, and it’s one that I always wished they would highlight on LCS. Sean is a master of crowd work and revels in finding the surreal and funny in serious topics. Are there a couple of clunkers? Sure, but Sean has the stones to leave them on the CD and let you judge for yourself. Filthy, rude, crude, and incredibly politically incorrect… and also absolutely freakin’ hilarious in the process. In case it’s not obvious already, I’m recommending everyone with an open mind to go to Sean’s website RIGHT NOW and buy one.
Mike DeGeorge is an Accountant from St. Louis, and is also Associate Editor of RealityNewsOnline. You can e-mail Mike at: email@example.com.
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