It’s our fifth annual list of the ten best albums in comedy, and this year there were more great albums then ever before. Unlike the Grammy’s we were not looking to pick the best special that was also sold as a limited number of albums. Everything on our list was created as an album, available for sale as an album, and promoted as an album. Some of our picks were releasing their first recording ever, but in 2018 plenty of vets released great albums too.
In 2017 you gave the award to Joe DeRosa, in 2016 you overwhelmingly picked Rich Vos V as your favorite album of the year, and in 2015, Jay Mohr won for the audio version of his special, Happy and a Lot. In 2014, our first annual album of the year award went to Big Jay Oakerson for the Crowdwork Sessions Vol 1.
A few stats before we get to the ten best. Two of our past winners also have albums out this year- DeRosa went back to back with a new album out this year that so far has only been heard on SiriusXM and will soon be available for your mass consumption. Big Jay Oakerson is back with volume two of the Crowd Work Sessions. His first win was for volume one. Four of our top 10 comedians released their first recording this year. And this year we included a bonus album of the year- you can’t vote on it because it’s not stand up comedy, but it’s absolutely one of the funniest comedy albums you can buy. So don’t vote for it, but do buy it and enjoy it.
On to the top 10! Scroll down to vote for your pick for the best album of 2018!
Fans lined up around the block to cram into the Village Underground to hear BIG JAY OAKERSON record volume 2 of his crowd work series. THE CROWD WORK SESSIONS VOL. 2: I PROMISED MYSELF I WOULDN’T ASK refers to a particular question he likes to ask women in the audience at his shows- Oakerson fans know what the question is and not asking that question becomes a theme of the new hour. The album follows up on Jay’s 2014 album, The Crowd Work Sessions, which won album of the year in 2014. In Vol. 2, Jay is as raw and filthy and hilarious as ever, not afraid to address everything from the gay motorcycle couple in the front row to the couple that’s just broken up but decided to go to his show together anyway. The New York Times called Jay the “Master of the Dirty Joke” and in this album, he honors that title fully.
MIKE VECCHIONE’s sophomore album, THE WORST KIND OF THOUGHTFUL showcases what a power hitter Vecchione really is. His talent of turning mundane life experiences into comedy is in full force in his latest release. And this time around, he’s put a lot more of himself into his work, with personal anecdotes sprinkled throughout. The album has 35 tracks of an average of 2 to 3 minutes each, delivering an hour and twenty two minutes of laughs. Vecchione covers a wide range of topics including travel, religion, dating, eating habits, athleticism, and teachers having sex with students. And the album is full of instances of multi-layered comedy. Just when you think Vecchione hits the punchline and is ready to move on, he surprises you taking the joke one layer further. The recording itself is raw- with audible cross talk, and drunk reactions, but hearing the crowd doesn’t detract from the album, it actually adds to it, giving the album a true live feel. That’s what a club sounds like, so why not a live album? Recorded at Governors in Long Island, The Worst Kind of Thoughtful is full of your new favorite jokes.
Everyone knew SAM JAY’s first album was going to be a game changer. She had already been gaining recognition all over the industry, making all the good lists. A Netflix 15, a Comedy Central 30, a gig writing on SNL, everyone is recognizing what a unique voice Jay brings to the stage. Recorded at The Stand in NYC, Sam Jay delivered one of the most original and powerful albums this year. This deeply personal first outing covers a lot of Sam Jay history and this is no accident. Jay wanted her debut album to be an introduction to who she is, and she’s succeeded. Beyond the biographical, the album telegraphs her tone, her style, and what’s drawn her to the stage. She’s also brought some other parts of her life to the album, musical influences, beats and interludes, personal recordings and voicemail conversations are touchstones throughout. What’s striking about the album is how open Sam is. She’s tough as nails and confident with plenty of swagger, but right from the jump, she takes all her armor off, letting the audience see whats underneath. Even as she walks to the stage she admits she has no idea how this whole album thing works. She starts off with some Uber pool material, neutral, safe, but funny, then dives deep with an interlude dealing with some heavy subject matter- losing her mom at the age of 16. What follows is a run of intense topics including dating men before figuring out she gay, dating her first girlfriend, getting married and moving on from that marriage. “At one time I sucked a lot of dicks,” she says, “cause I was working out me.” And that’s just the beginning. Sam Jay: Donna’s Daughter feels like a quantum leap forward and makes us curious where this will lead.
DAN ST. GERMAIN is first and foremost an entertainer and his second album, NO REAL WINNERS HERE is absolute proof of this. In an era when so many comics show up with an agenda or a character or spend an hour navel gazing, Dan just crushes every topic he touches. He’s so relatable. He’s a guy that you would be friends with or at least would have married your cousin and you are so happy to meet him because now there’s finally someone at Thanksgiving you want to spend time talking to. St. Germain shares horrific-ly wonderful self deprecating stories including an incredible blackout drunk story that anyone whose spent real time drinking or doing drugs can relate to, but his stories involve major celebrities and private planes in faraway cities. Grab this album to hear Dan’s story about how Michael Moore and Sinbad helped him realize he had a drug and alcohol problem. Stay for the stories about Dan’s encounter with face tattoo man, finding out about his parent’s divorce via email, and his all time worst gig when he thought he was firing back at a drunk heckler. Recorded in Madison Wisconsin, this album is a career high for Dan. He’s 100% ready to hit the next level in the business.
Storytelling shows have taken off in comedy clubs, and D.C. BENNY is one of comedy’s great storytellers. His new album, LIVE FROM THE FAT BLACK is a glorious example of the best of the genre. Storytelling is one of the most difficult art forms in all of comedy because you need a beginning, middle and end, and all three had better be strong. You’d be surprised how many stories in life don’t really have an ending. Pay attention at the Christmas table this year, you’ll see. And a great story also has to have jokes throughout that move the story forward, without feeling inorganic to the story. In LFTFB Benny shares 10 stories; some pretty classic situations like a fight over a parking spot or a subway fight, others more unconventional because how many people do you know who might find themselves in full clown makeup in a fight with a mime in Washington Square Park? And the time D.C. pretended to be Latino for weeks just to fit in on a gangster movie set shot on location in Puerto Rico. Don’t think Benny’s parking spot fight story will be anything like your parking spot fight story. You could not possibly be prepared for the depths to which D.C. goes to win his.
MARY RADZINSKI lands an impressive first album with DISCOMFORTABLE. The Philly based comic has opened for a strong list of headliners that includes two New York legends– Dave Attell, and Jim Norton. And like the comics who have recognized her skills, Mary has really paid her dues before breaking through, and it looks like it could be Radzinski’s time now to shine. She was named Philadelphia’s Best Comedian in 2014 and was a finalist in Philly’s Phunniest, the Laughing Skull Comedy Festival and the Boston Comedy Festival. Discomfortable is all about misdirection, and she uses her laid back, comfortable delivery to help misguide the audience to the wrong conclusions throughout the album to great comedic effect. Like for example, in talking about the benefits and pitfalls of quitting smoking, or her track about reaching the time in her life when all her friends are getting divorced and the new role she’s taken on now to help them transition back out of marriage. She’s blunt, she’s dark, she’s dirty, and she’s just getting started.
Maybe its unfair to put JOE DEROSA’s new album in the top 10 this year, as the greater comedy universe has not yet had the chance to listen. But could we really include I GO TO ATLANTA ALL THE TIME as a 2019 album next year when it released as a SiriusXM exclusive in 2018? Tough call, but who cares because Joe DeRosa has released another great album hot on the heels of his “Best of 2018 in Comedy” award winning album You Let Me Down. The new album is hilarious. You’ve heard of Between Two Ferns? DeRosa exists between two thorns. Everything is uncomfortable and sharp in his world and he will knows how to make it hysterically funny throughout this album. His pain is truly your gain whether he’s illustrating how bad his depression can get by sharing a difficult moment he had in his shower or explaining why he hates all of his friends (and consequently this should tell you why you should probably hate yours too). This is an hour of cringe-laugh-cringe-laugh-cringe-laugh. Highlights include Joe giving a semen sample in a public bathroom in an office building, his struggle walking the red carpet at the Bruce Willis roast knowing he’s not famous enough for reporters to know who he is, his unique reaction to Anthony Bourdain’s suicide and his look at the spectrum of shame in a hyper-judgmental culture. Listen to this album, somehow, at some point in time, if you can.
BEN ROY opens his third album telling the audience about a bad haircut and shave before quickly getting into a very public nervous breakdown/meltdown he had after moving to Los Angeles. His delivery makes it clear he was not fucking around. OOZE YOUR ILLUSIONS is not a light fluffy fun party album, it’s dark. But it’s also really funny. Roy is a ranter, and he’s been compared to some of the best ranters in the business. The good news is, that meltdown is a few years behind him now (he initially recorded this album two years ago but lost all the files and had to re-record it, this year) so he’s okay. The bad news for Roy is, this is one sentence off his third track: “Nothing in the world like spending your 38th year on this planet just perilously clinging to the last whisper thin tendril of sanity that your brain is capable of stringing between the two piss soaked shivering shitzu’s that are your courage and self worth receptors while the rest of the world laughs and cries as it pushes a metaphorical mesquite barbecue by your window every day just enjoying the clickety clack of its tiny little wheels in a seemingly perfect rhythm with a stopwatch counting down an ever dwindling time continuum of your own creative marketability.” The album isn’t all self flagellation, Roy also delivers his own twisted take on traveling, how Americans treat our own history, learning that you’re white trash, an extended discussion on the relative merits of heroin and where alcohol addiction stands in the ranking of addictions. Ben’s intense (he splits his time between comedy and fronting a punk band). And that intensity really lands here. Roy has seen recognition for his comedy but he’s got a lot more due to come his way.
New York based NORE DAVIS is ready to be the Jay-Z of comedy. He’s hungry to become a big name in the business churning out self produced albums and specials, working his brand, and borrowing from other art forms to find his path to the top. All indications point to Nore being well on his way. This new album is the thirty-four year old comedian’s third and its his best. TOO WOKE is smooth, and polished and professional. The album explores our current social climate, looking at white supremacy, toxic masculinity, trans rights, vegan diets, rap egos and how to navigate the expectations of being woke in 2018. And can you be too woke? Nore recorded to sold out crowds at Union Hall in Brooklyn, New York early 2018, and released the album with all the excitement that an album deserves. Not only did Davis throw a great album release party, he also held a gallery exhibition and album art reveal party that included album covers representing 20 different visual artists. As for the material, Davis recognizes that nothing is simple in the twenty-teens. He examines his heroes and the cultural markers of his life finding conflict and questions in many places. Reminding us there are struggles all around us, TOO WOKE is an excellent album, and one of the years ten best.
Now is the perfect time to buy and listen to ADAM FERRARA’s new album UNCONDITIONAL. Recorded at Christmastime in New York City the album is packed with pure comedy, and New York is the perfect place for Ferrara’s stories. Taking on irritating tourists in the city, clashing ethnicities, the effect of being raised Catholic, drugs, guns, and he can take on all of these topics without worrying about offending. Why? Ferrara is so genuinely likeable that its nearly impossible to take offense at his material. In fact, listening to UNCONDITIONAL makes us wonder how Hollywood has failed to translate one of his pilots for television. Ferrara’s likeability is genuine, and effortless. And that gives him room to swing wide and hit his mark. He’s a killer on any topic- it’s his delivery, his reactions to the world he sees around him- that are priceless. Adam sees the ridiculousness around him and calls it as he sees it, even when the ridiculous shows up in his own home. There’s a very traditional feel to the album, the kind of comedy that modern stand up comedy was built on but it never feels dated. And few comedians can talk about the neighborhood in the old days while also talking about their own 9lb twitchy jack russell whose organic diet may be to blame for their problems. A genuine great listen and one of this year’s best.
BONUS ALBUM! Todd Glass taking a starring role on Blake Wexler’s answering machine should be on your holiday list this year. Just stuff it in your own stocking if nobody else wants you to have this album. Its pure Todd Glass and it proves that if someone’s funny, they’re funny all the time, not just on stage. And Todd Glass is funny all the time. The album collects over 40 voicemails Todd Glass left on friend and comedian Blake Wexler’s voicemails over the course of 12 years. Pure magic.