Although less incendiary than the explosive Lenny Bruce and more homespun than the irascible Bill Hicks, Ryan Singer nonetheless shares DNA with those great comic commandos, each of whom shot from the lip with howitzers.
On How to Get High Without Drugs (Rooftop Comedy Productions), Singer seemingly lobs softballs instead of hand grenades when deftly and cleverly deriding hypocrites, homophobes and bigots. But just because he camouflages his contempt in sarcasm does not make him any less of a prickly provocateur than his predecessors.
Unlike his heavyweight forbears Bruce and Hicks, Singer merely jabs at his witless targets throughout his set. Although he pulls his punches, his perceptive comic points nevertheless stick in listeners’ minds long after the CD ends 59 minutes later — his real objective, agreed?
His underlying “I’m just a comedian” manner belies the craftsmanship of his jokes and his alternately trenchant and daffy wit. Equally silly, sinister and mischievous, Singer can playfully mock his mom, skillfully dissect the Left, Right and Center (with a cookie cutter, no less) and distill 400 years of animosity into 4 minutes, 13 seconds.
“United Snacks of America,” the highlight track (check it out below), is less a sugary-sweet ode to America than a sulfurous summary of racial and global politics. It’s memorable because of its ingenuity, simplicity and subtlety, and it’s the masterpiece in a gallery of wickedly hilarious comedy.
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