It's a little bit amazing to me that Kathy Griffin and Chelsea Handler have two of the largest fanbases in comedy today. Both are capable of being funny, sure, but their acts have devolved into laziness: Griffin name-drops and talks about pop culture without really telling jokes, and Handler makes fun of everything without offering any kind of alternative -- everything just sucks. And, yet, they're arguably two of the most successful female stand-ups in comedy, with sold out shows and millions of fans who eat up their every word.
The comic that these people should be following is Natasha Leggero, who, on her first comedy album Coke Money, does exactly what ladies like Griffin and Handler do -- only much better. Yes, Leggero goofs on pop culture like American Idol and I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant, but it's more than just cattiness and backstage gossip. She has a point of view about these shows (they're awful), and constructs jokes and routines around them. And when she does make fun of things, she isn't just being snarky and superior. She brings the audience over to her side and makes them understand why these things are ridiculous -- you know, the way a good comedian does.
Perhaps most impressive about Coke Money (besides how funny it is, and it is very, very funny) is the way that Leggero develops a clear voice and persona on stage from which she builds the humor. The first few minutes are a bit rough -- it sounds like Kim Cattrall's character from Sex and the City doing stand-up -- but once you get over that hump, Leggero settles into a more believable, relatable voice that she carries through the rest of the record. She's the spoiled-brat-as-comic, the girl who is all too aware of her own shortcomings but who still isn't going to suffer fools lightly. That's how she ends up taking on L.A. club girls, douchebag guys, egotistical rappers, toilet babies and many, many more in routines that only get funnier as the album goes on.
For those that only know Leggero as a panelist on Chelsea Lately or from her stint as a judge on Last Comic Standing, I implore you to check out Coke Money. The album is so much funnier than what several of Leggero's more successful or better-known contemporaries are putting out. It's one of the funniest records of the year.
- Album Release Date: 3/22/11 (Digital Only)
- Label: Comedy Central Records