Werewolves and Lollipops (Sub Pop)
By Brian Varney
As far back as I can remember, I’ve been a fan of stand-up comedy. Even when I was a preteen with the age group’s typical lack of attention span, I had no problem watching an entire comedy TV special. However, I was also like that older guy you know from the gym or your job or through friends who really likes classic rock exclusively. In other words, I’d pretty much worn out and completely memorized every nuance of my favorite albums by folks like Richard Pryor, Rodney Dangerfield, Sam Kinison, and Bill Hicks, but knew literally nothing of anyone who’d been doing comedy for the last decade or more.
Don’t get me wrong here – this ignorance was not willful. I wanted to find current comedians; I would listen to Hicks or Pryor discuss then-current events and wonder what they’d have to say about some of the crazy shit going on in our current world. Finding new up-and-coming stand-up comics is a difficult task, though, even for a practiced die-hard underground rocker like myself. The rules are different for comics. They don’t record as often as bands, and there are less magazines, websites, and other such resources devoted to them. Oh, and comedy clubs suck ass.
Luckily, though, thanks to a few key resources like Chunklet magazine and also folks like Patton Oswalt, Eugene Mirman, and Brian Posehn releasing albums on rock labels, I started to catch on, discovering these folks as well as Zach Galifianakis, Mitch Hedberg, Eddie Izzard and other like-minded, progressive-thinking, brilliant comics.
Werewolves and Lollipops is, in a lot of ways, the fulfillment of all my stand-up dreams. Patton is the guy attacking the current political administration just like I’d envisioned while playing Rant in E Minor for the 579th time, and because he’s close to my age and social status (in other words, he’s a mid-30s geek), his reference points are ones I might use in conversation. The best example here is the bit where he compares Bush and Cheney to the Dukes of Hazzard in their ability to escape seemingly impossible predicaments with improbable ease.
However, I don’t want to have you thinking it’s all political vitriol with Mr. Oswalt. Far from it! If you purchase Werewolves and Lollipops (and I definitely think you should), you’ll also get hilarious bits about Cirque de Soleil, the oldest woman to give birth, career advice from Brian Dennehy, and yet another rant about the Star Wars prequels, all of which illustrate his peerless skill with unexpecting imagery – you’ll never think of poultry or drapes the same way after you hear “The Miracle of Childbirth,” which is kinda the point of the best stand-up comedy.