Nick Swardson: Party

By | October 16, 2007 at 10:41 am | No comments | Reviews

swardson200.jpgYou’d be hard-pressed to find a stand-up comedian — a good one, anyway — that doesn’t drop at least a little bit of sadness, anger or some form of edge into his act. It just seems part of the package; well-adjusted, incredibly happy people most times make bad comics.

And it’s not that comedian Nick Swardson is well-adjusted — he’s far from it.

It’s just that he lacks that overt troubled-artist demeanor; instead, he’s happy to deliver the bulk of his joke repertoire as a 12-year-old boy trapped in a 31-year-old’s body.

At times, the recipe works — especially when Swardson uses his boyish wonderment to create absurd adult-themed — “what if” bits, like when he examines alcoholism: “I wonder if wine coolers ever just fucked somebody’s life up — just took somebody down,”  he says. “Hi, my name is Nick, and kiwi-strawberry ruined my life.”

It works even better when he tells the crowd at the Tempe Improv about the time he bought a “sounds of the ’80s CD,” only to realize upon getting it in the mail that it was filled with sounds of the 1580s and that it was just a recording of one man talking:

“Winter’s coming again,” Swardson narrates. We don’t have much time. Father’s got small pox. He’s not going to make it, I know it. We’re got to find food. Where are the horses? I can’t feel my legs! Is there a God in this world!?!”

He pauses.

“Ok, I can’t dance to that. Is there a club remix to ‘I Can’t Feel My Legs’?”

His boyish charms start to wear thin during his third or fourth poop joke. He jokes about feeding his cat diarrhea; he spins a tale about his house being haunted by a farting ghost; he uses the expression “shit factory” in one of his punch lines and a closing skit featuring David Spade finds Spade’s character, Mindy, farting uncontrollably in an elevator.

But, in his defense, with his laid-back, stoner-like, stuffy-nosed delivery, Swardson never claims to be breaking down the walls of stand-up comedy or leaving an audience with something to think about.

Party is a lighthearted, largely funny collection of Swardson’s now classic bits (his John Stamos funeral joke, grandmother stories and his faux anecdote about his friend stabbing a guy in the face are all finally captured on disc) and his newer, if not better, material. While it clearly isn’t designed for repeated listens, Party no doubt deserves a spot in your growing comedy collection.

About the Author

Dylan P. Gadino

Dylan is the founder and editor in chief of Laughspin. He launched Punchline Magazine in 2005 (which became Laughspin in the summer of 2011) with childhood friend Bill Bergmann. Dylan lives in northern New Jersey with his wife and two sons. He hopes the Shire is real.