Paul Varghese: Paul & Oates (Review)

By | November 6, 2013 at 11:32 am | No comments | News, Reviews | Tags:

VargheseRight from the opening seconds of his most recent stand-up album, Paul & Oates, Paul Varghese gives his audience members and listeners a choice. Do we all want to keep listening to him, or should we just close out our tabs right now and quickly call it a night? To determine the outcome, Varghese dispenses three test jokes in rapid succession. The first? “My friend is a Jehovah’s Witness, and he got pissed when he told a knock-knock joke and I ignored him.” Okay Paul, you had me at hello. Or, perhaps in this case, whatever the non-answering equivalent of “hello” is.

The remainder of Varghese’s very full-flushed and entertaining effort follows similar suit. The Dallas native and veteran of Last Comic Standing plays the nice smart-ass to a delicious T, dispensing razor-sharp observations while wearing an expression that’s both shit-eating grin and charming smile at once.

“You know how mad you gotta be to throw a rock at a tank?” Varghese riffs on third-world revolutions. “We all know that paper beats rock. And tank really beats rock!” But would-be revolutionaries aren’t the only targets for Varghese’s scathing wit. As the album runs its course, Varghese creates some arresting comic imagery at his own expense: “I need to gain weight, or else the pallbearer at my funeral will be holding up my coffin like a boombox.”

His immigrant father, too, is a popular object of good-natured ridicule. For example, the phrases “passed out” and “passed away” prove interchangeable to an English-as-a-second-language practitioner, and so, well, you can probably imagine the horrified confusion that ensues when the elder Varghese the tries to tell his son that his mother is taking a nap.

In all, Paul & Oates is a thoroughly enjoyable stand-up outing from an undeniably promising comedic talent. Only suggestion: title the next album Paul is Dead (Or Perhaps Just Passed Out).

Buy the album here.

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About the Author

Emma Kat Richardson

Emma Kat Richardson is a Detroit native who received her BA in professional writing and women and gender studies from Elizabethtown College in 2008. Her journalism and feature writing has been published in Alternative Press, Bitch, Punchline Magazine, Bookslut, and Real Detroit Weekly.

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