Musical comedy is a well-worn path yet it’s one in which few have conquered— Garfunkel and Oates, Stephen Lynch and Bo Burnham (to name just three) are brave artists who have turned the historically schlocky sub-genre into something intelligent and consistently funny. Not unlike plain stand-up, comedy-via-music has easily laid traps. The same basic premises, the same punch lines make it difficult for a comic to find his or her own voice. Thankfully, any of the above fears are quickly put to rest upon listening to the first track on Myq Kaplan and Micah Sherman’s Please Be Seated, available Sept. 25.
The album’s first song, “The Stand-Up Comic’s National Anthem” addresses these exact artistic obstacles. After a charming non-musical introduction where the comics confuse each other’s names, the Anthem kicks in, skewering tropes that we, as comedy fans, have grown all-too accustomed to. The duo present a blitz of intentionally standard, hackneyed premises, all set to the tune of “The Star Spangled Banner,” which not only is a clever song choice for an opening segment, but also acts as a wink at the audience so that they know exactly what Myq and Micah are up against, and how they plan to combat it.
The two longtime friends bring slightly different skills to the act. Kaplan, who has a Masters in Linguistics from Boston University, was a 2010 Last Comic Standing finalist, and his Vegan Mind Meld was one of the top comedy albums on iTunes and was chosen as one of Laughspin’s top 10 albums in that same year. Sherman is a skilled improv actor and has landed small roles in major studio flicks (“Jokes of Girlfriends Past” is a play off of one such movie in which Sherman was cast). The combination makes for relaxed, laid-back banter not only with each other, but with the audience. They’re able to perform (mostly) inoffensively. You likely won’t add many tracks from Please Be Seated to your “workout mix,” although, “Inonic,” a less rhythmic but more factually accurate take on Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic” just might sneak in there. And you’ll be smarter (and happier) because of that.
We highly recommend you pre-order a copy Please Be Seated on iTunes now!