Ah, yes. It’s that time of year again when the mainstream entertainment industry reminds us just how much they don’t give a shit about the world of stand-up comedy by doling out Grammy nominations to some of the least deserving — but wildly popular — artists.
It’s also the time of the year when we ask: Why does the Grammy committee try so hard to loop hole so many comedy releases into their nom list when there are so many other stand-up albums to choose from?
Here’s what we’re talking about:
Last year, the Grammy folks gave us a glimmer of hope when they nominated Patton Oswalt’s stellar album My Weakness is Strong. But in the end, bad decisions prevailed as Stephen Colbert — who, don’t get us wrong, we love! — snagged the Grammy for an “album” that was released in November of 2008 (apparently making it eligible for the 2009 awards, which aired in Jan. 2010); it was basically audio taken from his Christmas special that aired on Comedy Central and was later available on DVD. It amounted to less than 26 minutes of digital tracks available only on iTunes.
Also up for the Grammy last year was George Lopez; his album Tall, Dark & Chicano. This thing was barely commercially released at the time of its nomination. You couldn’t get it on iTunes, Amazon or in stores on CD. The only way to purchase the album, as far as we could tell, was to buy a special edition vinyl copy from Rooftop Comedy’s store.
And let us not forget Flight of the Conchords’ big win in at the 2008 Grammys for their 23-minute EP — not an album! — The Distant Future.
Ok, so let’s talk about this year’s nominations, which came out last night. Here they are:
- Margaret Cho: Cho Dependent
- Flight of the Conchords: I Told You I Was Freaky
- Kathy Griffin: Kathy Griffin Does the Bible Belt
- Lewis Black: Stark Raving Black
- Robin Williams: Weapons of Self Destruction
Alright. Let’s start with our old friends, the Conchords. Their album, I Told You I Was Freaky, was released in October of 2009; I guess that makes it eligible for the 2010 awards. Nice.
Kathy Griffin’s release is simply audio taken from her Bravo television special; it’s sold as one giant, censored, hastily uploaded 45-minute track on iTunes; and it doesn’t even come up as a result when you search for the album on Amazon. Also, there’s no mention of the album on her official site (as of this writing, anyway).
We’re happy Cho was nominated this year for her musical comedy album (even though it’s not a stand-up album) and, really, we don’t have a problem with Black and Williams getting nods, except their names seem to pop up on the Grammy list every time they release something. We’re just frustrated that with at least 100 stand-up comedy albums released this year, this is the best the Grammy folks could come up with.
They’ve once again found a way to shoehorn a few albums on the list and then simply honor the same people they always honor– further encouraging the entertainment-consuming public to believe that there is really no one putting comedy albums out, which, is so much the opposite of what’s really happening.
The Grammys award show will air Feb. 13 on CBS at 8 pm EST.