Baron Vaughn: “Raised By Cable” (Review)

By | October 10, 2011 at 10:13 am | 9 comments | feature slider, Reviews | Tags: , ,

Baron Vaughn’s debut album Raised By Cable is an hour-long set of highs and lows that will most likely polarize audiences. It’s not that you’ll either love it or hate it; it’s more that you’ll either find it highly interesting, or highly forgettable.

The Las Vegas native has a perspective that is wholly unique, and a personality that is generally likable. When he tones down his zany, high-energy side, he’s able to make astute observations and breathe comedic life into well-grounded premises. When he plays up that caffeine-induced persona, however, he makes things awkward; the consistently funny moments decrease and most of what’s left is Vaughn singing (which he’s very good at), making noises (also, good), but seemingly taking more pleasure in his act than seems appropriate.

Vaughn often milks bits too long. He regularly gets hearty laughs from a genuinely interesting premise, but then proceeds to beat the bit to death: Vaughn just goes on and on, sometimes breaking into song and modulating his voice for effect. Too often, Vaughn favors gimmicks that impress in the moment but ultimately don’t hold up during repeated listens.

Baron Vaughn — “Black!” by Laughspin

When Vaughn is on, it’s a pleasure to sit back and listen. On “Picture Taker,” he observes, “what life in [Los Angeles] is, is just going back and forth from any place that anyone said has the best burgers.” And on “Travel Part 1,” he exclaims, “‘I realized that turbulence is sort of the sky’s way of saying, ‘You know, you really shouldn’t be up here.’” Vaughn turns simple observations into jokes that are simply funny.

But moments like these on Raised By Cable are spread too far apart. The album is 63 minutes long; 45 minutes of succinct material likely would’ve played up the rising comedian’s strong points.

You can buy yourself a copy of Raised By Cable here.

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.

  • http://twitter.com/ekimnamwen mike n

    when i saw him in hollywood his entire set was entirely forgettable. he’s clearly more interested in being an actor than being a stand-up.

  • http://twitter.com/ekimnamwen mike n

    when i saw him in hollywood his entire set was entirely forgettable. he’s clearly more interested in being an actor than being a stand-up.

  • http://twitter.com/ekimnamwen mike n

    when i saw him in hollywood his entire set was entirely forgettable. he’s clearly more interested in being an actor than being a stand-up.

  • Mike N’s wife

    Mike N writes cynical pooptwaddle. Go look at his tweets.

  • Anonymous

    I wholeheartedly disagree with your assessment of Baron’s CD, but it seems like it’s just a matter of taste. I found his songs to be delightful, whimsical, unique, and fun. They had plenty of good jokes and awesome writing shuffled into them too (which if they were just gimmicks, why bother doing the writing he so clearly does?). It seems really sad and weird to criticize someone for taking pleasure in their act too. I’d rather listen to a comedian having fun and enjoying his creation. For me, the bits don’t go on too long; They twist and turn and surprise laughter out of me in places I never saw them going. But like I said, it seems like you enjoy a different kind of comedy. I laughed so hard at this album I couldn’t let this review go uncontested, especially for people who would enjoy Baron’s style.

  • Lsquared1219

    Couldn’t disagree more. I think Baron’s act outs are brilliant and make the album very relistenable and his writing is excellent. He brings characters and stories to life with his energy, it’s not a shouting gimmick like used by Denis leary. Honestly one of my favorite albums of the year.

  • Sidepocketkid

    Baron’s cd is Awesome and refreshing. He does his best work when he takes you into his world and you are able to escape the hum drum reality of life. It is when he does his full expressions that you are able to let you mind go to place’s of wonderment and amusement. Great job and hope he puts out another cd soon.

  • Sidepocketkid

    Baron’s cd is Awesome and refreshing. He does his best work when he takes you into his world and you are able to escape the hum drum reality of life. It is when he does his full expressions that you are able to let you mind go to place’s of wonderment and amusement. Great job and hope he puts out another cd soon.

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