It’s no secret among my circle of friends that I gravitate towards edgy comedy. I love being punched in the gut by a barrage of vulgarity and shock à la George Carlin, Bob Saget, even Louis C.K. or Marc Maron. I want to come out of a show with my soul destroyed and my faith in humanity shaken. Fun times!
Immersion in that flavor of comedy meant listening to Tommy Johnagin’s second album, aptly titled Stand Up Comedy 2, was a serious departure from my normal habits. Johnagin has risen to notoriety having placed second in season season of NBC’s Last Comic Standing, but is also known for steering clear of coarse language and adult themes in his act.
Now, for some listeners – including yours truly – that reputation is often a red flag. But Stand Up Comedy 2 is much more than a squeaky clean jaunt through Johnagin’s recent life.
If you’re still skeptical, the first track, “Humorous Story About Drugs,” is fairly indicative of Johnagin’s style. Apparently, his first experience with pot was crazy awkward, from talking about smoking (“Let’s get some pot! Let’s do it!”) to procuring the goods from a buddy with a medical card.
But my reaction to hearing this story was less, “Holy shit, this dude is awkward,” than, “Aww, he’s so cute, he has no fucking clue.” And, story after story, that’s the Johnagin we come to know. He laments his broken engagement, which was followed by his ex-fiancée’s re-engagement after only three weeks. He describes his bumpy re-entry into the single life, the dating life the awkwardness of a sex life. And he describes a mistaken visit to a gynecologist at 13-years old for a school sports physical. Ouch. Seriously, no fucking clue.
Tommy Johnagin – “Jokes About Babies” by dgadino
But man, does it work for him! This album is definitely not just a compendium of tales of a bumbling fool. Far from it. Johnagin’s awareness of his missteps, and others’ hang-ups – he doesn’t simply critique himself, natch – means the chuckles keep on coming. His stories come with a wink and a nudge. And, on occasion, we can see ourselves in him.
So even if you’re usually more inclined to check out comics teetering on the brink of obscenity and insanity, give Stand Up Comedy 2 a try. At the very least, your soul won’t be destroyed.
To snag yourself a copy of Tommy Johnagin’s Stand Up Comedy 2, just click the image below.