Though I try to avoid making claims as to what is the most “this” or “that” in terms of comedy albums — especially before the year is through — Pete Holmes’ just-released Impregnated With Wonder has me re-examining my unofficial policy. This album may very well be one of the most quotable comedy albums of 2011.
“Maaaaaaaagic,” “I’m an adult!” “I need a lawyer!” are just a few words and phrases you’ll likely be repeating in your head after even one listen to the album– possibly even aloud, if only in an attempt to replicate how hilarious Holmes is in the hour-long performance. He even says as much on the track “Pieeeeeeeerce!” that, “If you don’t do that alone in the shower tomorrow [quoting the joke] you’re dead inside.” And for how many times I laughed aloud while listening to the album, I have to admit that Holmes is not, in the least, overselling his theory.
Holmes’ physical delivery is consistently loose– sometimes he projects loud; sometimes soft, maybe he giggles at his own words; he’ll talk to the audience; he’ll speed up his cadence; he’ll revert to a normal pace. And while Holmes is making these seemingly haphazard decisions, he’s delivering deftly written and expertly thought-out material. The end result is the portrait of a comedian embracing a component of comedy that may seem obvious (but isn’t)– one that’s largely taken for granted or pushed aside in stand-up: having fun. Holmes has an enormous amount of fun making an audience laugh.
Holmes — who describes himself as a fat Val Kilmer in one joke — sounds like he’s sincerely enjoying telling jokes as much as the audience enjoys laughing at them. Ranging from insightful observations about the hardships of magic (Holmes may be the only comedian alive who doesn’t hate magicians) to simply yelling things that rhyme.
Like the hour-long onstage romps comedians like Brian Regan (who Holmes sometimes sounds like, especially on “Non-Fiction”) and Doug Benson offer, Holmes’ comedy is for laughs– and laughs, alone. The most heady he gets, arguably, is when he yearns for a time in the past when people actually made their own sandwiches (“like an olde time chef”) instead of eating at Subway, where “it all tastes like the restaurant smells.” And the closest Holmes comes to positing theories is his take on the physical appearance of creepy dudes: “If you have a friend with a blond mustache, he wants to touch you.”
I can go on about how most every bit on Impregnated is structurally clever, how Holmes’ pacing makes for an exhaustingly happy comedy experience or how simply likable the dude is. But in the end, it’s best you just listen and laugh.
You can snag yourself a copy of Impregnated With Wonder (we highly recommend it) at iTunes or wherever fine comedy is sold.