On Palpable, his new release from Rooftop Comedy Productions, the paradoxical Buscemi takes the audience at the Lincoln Lodge in Chicago and listeners everywhere else on an often impressive express ride through his equally corny and ingenious, grandiose and ingenuous, clownish and refined comic mind.
“If anybody here hasn’t seen me before,” he announces early in his set, “just hang in there. I liken seeing me for the first time to…um… Remember the first time you ate sushi? Remember how strange and oddly sexual that was? Or the first time you wore a thong? You develop a craving is what I’m saying.”
Perhaps he is more of an acquired taste, people outside of Chicago, his home base and fan base, may think in the opening minutes of this CD: the comic equivalent of painstakingly disassembling lobster for the first time, only to discover the reward does not always match the level of exertion. For like that langoustine luxury, Buscemi, a favorite among his peers, takes some work to enjoy too.
Initially, he sounds more like a haughty hipster than the goofball beneath the fedora, but with his brainy wordplay and breezy byplay, Buscemi sells himself until you eventually buy his act: affable jackass-of-all-trades.
Like another rascally rogue comedian, Doug Benson, he mischievously pokes the conventions of his profession. Occasionally he tries too many language stunts, overtwisting a gag until he wrings out the fun, but you forgive the transgression because of a gem like “Tang,” (listen above) which has nothing to do with the breakfast drink and everything to do with spotlighting Buscemi’s alternately silly and sly sides.
To buy Robert Buscemi’s Palpable, just click the image below.