AJ Finney: “My Brain Don’t Work No Good” (Review)

By | August 1, 2011 at 1:19 pm | One comment | News, Reviews | Tags:

“The hardest part about killing a unicorn,” AJ Finney declares, “is sobering up after about three days and trying to explain to your neighbor why you’ve been shooting arrows through his motorcycle.” This is Finney in a nutshell: a self-affirmed idiot-boozehound with a penchant for drugs, sex and mayhem.

On his debut album My Brain Don’t Work No Good, Finney truly sees the humor in unfortunate situations. After undergoing a hernia operation, for example, he takes comfort in his Vicodin prescription. When he beds a woman with poor landscaping down under, he tells her to be proud of it (but to simply warn him). And when he reveals that he was dropped several times as a baby, he tells the audience they should laugh at his suffering.

Finney comes off extremely confident, never seeming unsure of his material’s power. Listening to the album in its entirety, it’s safe to say that Finney is 100 percent invested in and committed to his material. At times, though, Finney gets a little too cute. He refers to his brain as “a rusty bucket of wiggle worms,” and when trying to pick up a woman at a bar, he declares, “Welcome to heaven. Population: me.” These are lines that don’t to merit inclusion in Finney’s otherwise solid act.

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In this way, Finney’s pacing is a bit scattered. He’s a very lively and energetic personality; he talks fast and he has a unique inflection that works well for his voice. But at times, he breaks his rhythm for unknown reasons. This doesn’t hurt the album, but it doesn’t help, either. Despite these criticisms, My Brain Don’t Work No Good is a wonderful debut. The content on the album is so rich and nuanced that any objections one may have are rendered almost negligible.

Finney is a storyteller: a tad verbose at times, but that’s part of his charm. Finney milks his jokes for every ounce of comedy he can find. He doesn’t go straight to the punch line; he instead massages the bit, coaxing out the funny and taking us on a journey. As Finney says, his being on stage is “a bit therapeutic.” He’s obviously discovering himself while performing. As he’s going through this emotional journey, he’s taking us along for the ride. It’s a crazy ride, but it’s a fascinating one, as well.

You can now download AJ Finney’s My Brain Don’t Work No Good on iTunes.

About the Author

Daniel Berkowitz

Daniel Berkowitz is a Los Angeles-based graduate student focused on nonfiction writing, popular culture and advancing standup comedy's place in the academic realm. He's currently working on a book about how comedy affects democracy. He also really likes baseball.