While Los Angeles and New York City remain the two main hubs of comedy in the United States, there are talented, dedicated comedians that have managed to work the road across the country and not transplant their entire lives over to either coast. Unfortunately, the sacrifice that many such comics make is that notoriety and exposure is much harder to come by– even if its deserved. Hailing from Denver, comedian Deacon Gray is such a case.
With his new album, Revival of the Fittest, Gray proves his act can appeal to both broader sensibilities as well as those more inclined towards dark, intellectual humor. He also proves that, ultimately, he needs to be seen and heard by more people. On Revival, Gray mixes live stand-up, sketches, stories, and even commentary on his own album; it all amounts to a welcome departure from most stand-up releases, which are usually assembled from the best parts of three or four consecutive live shows over the run of a weekend. The Oklahoma City native offers up a succinct, entertaining album, which thematically revolves around his identity as both a Christian and a comic, but not a Christian comic.
Unflinching in subject matter, he hilariously explores seemingly every facet of being raised Christian (his brothers are preachers!) while living life as a touring comedian. On one sketch on Revival, his manager calls Gray and says about having his religion and job title being mutually exclusive: “Why split hairs?” And this concept is further explored within the album’s inside artwork, occupied by a cartoonish map of a Church complex that houses a comedy club. In the end, Gray makes a consistently funny album peppered with poignant social commentary; it’s smart without being snooty and fun without being lazy.