The bulk of the material on Pervert is no-doubt cringeworthy, but comedian Phil Mazo wraps it up in such a smartly written, deftly constructed package that by the end of his nearly 40-minute set, you can’t help but like him — regardless of how much of a sick fuck he is. In fact, he brings a lighthearted, almost highbrow tone to cringe comedy.
And anyway, “sick fuck” is a relative term; he’s no Jim Norton; but he’s also not the type of comic with whom you’d want to pop your stand-up cherry — unless you have an open mind, and, more important, an advanced sense of humor.
The title of the New Jersey comic’s debut album understandably leads you to believe Mazo relies heavily on sex humor to grab laughs from his audience. But while he peppers the concept of sexual deviance throughout, it’s certainly not a crutch for the young comedian.
Instead of marrying the narrow definition to the word, “pervert,” you know, the guy who watches a wee too much porn, who, when out and about sports “that weird porn thousand-yard stare” as Marc Maron calls it, Mazo embraces the idea that there could be perversion in all things– that “perversion” happens when a change is made to whatever is considered normal.
Thankfully, Mazo knows perversion is a good thing. And he knows that part of the fun of being perverse is creeping out people, like when he explains to the Minnesota crowd that he’s not impressed with strip clubs’ constant marketing cry of, “Live Girls! Live Girls!”
“You wanna do business?” Mazo asks. “Show me a dead girl. I’ll pay money to see that.”
Even when touching on contemporary comedy biggie topics like MySpace, he’s refreshingly original: “Ladies, if you’re on MySpace, don’t write in your profile that you’re down-to-earth and then have a picture of your breasts hanging out. You’re not down-to-earth; you’re a money-grubbing whore.”
And when he does delve into his faux sexist theories, he doesn’t overperform or weigh down his jokes with excessive cursing or otherwise shocking language. Instead, Mazo’s version of boys-and-girls-are-different comedy sounds like this: “Girls are so sensitive. I was about to double-team this girl with a friend of mine and she’s like, ‘Do you guys like me?’ And I’m like, ‘Sweetheart, we’re about to double-team you. Of course we don’t like you.’”
But the highest point of Pervert is when Mazo absurdly (or is it absurd?) draws a comparison between the famous I Love Lucy chocolate assembly-line scene and an interracial blow job. You’ll never look at Lucy the same way.
For more info or to buy the album, check out philmazo.com.
Check out Phil Mazo videos on ComedySpace.