Grammy nominations for best comedy album not as horrible as usual

The folks at the Grammys have had a recent history of nominating some pretty questionable albums for their Best Comedy Album category. In 2008 they gave the award to Flight of the Conchords for their 23-minute EP The Distant Future (not an album). In 2009, George Lopez’s album Tall, Dark & Chicano was nominated, despite the fact it was only commercially available at the time of nomination on vinyl through Rooftop Comedy’s website. That year Stephen Colbert snagged the Grammy for an “album” made up of 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 (not an album).

Last year, the Grammy committee nominated another Conchords album I Told You I Was Freaky, despite it being released in October 2009; and Kathy Griffin Does the Bible Belt was also nominated, despite the fact the recording was simply the audio taken from her special that aired on Bravo that year. The only way to get it, is to download it from iTunes– it’s one giant track of audio and it’s completely censored. Nice. Lewis Black ended up winning last year; the outcome could’ve been a lot worse.

So what’s going on this year? The answer is not nearly as disheartening as years past. Here are the nominees:

  • Alpocalypse — “Weird Al” Yankovic
  • Finest Hour — Patton Oswalt
  • Hilarious — Louis C.K.
  • Kathy Griffin: 50 & Not Pregnant — Kathy Griffin
  • Turtleneck & Chain — The Lonely Island

This is the best list the Grammy folks have come up with in recent years. My main complaint is that, once again, the Griffin “album” nominated is not a proper album but just the audio ripped from her stand-up comedy special on Bravo. It’s available as a one-track, censored download on iTunes. Ugh.

But at least the committee gave nods to the well deserving Louis C.K. and Patton Oswalt, who was also nominated for 2009’s My Weakness is Strong. And you can’t really complain about Weird Al getting a nod; the dude’s been a musical comedy trailblazer for decades and his new album is nothing short of excellent. If he wins this year, it’ll be his third; he snagged a Grammy for Poodle Hat in 2004 and Eat It in 1984. And, ok. Saturday Night Live‘s Andy Samberg’s longtime musical comedy outfit The Lonely Island put out an album this year, so that got a nod. Could be worse.

But still, with so many excellent comedy albums released this year, it’s difficult to understand why the Grammy folks feel the need to force yet another Griffin release onto their list. Hopefully either Louis or Patton will win. But we’ll have to wait until Feb. 12 when the awards ceremony airs at 8 pm ET on CBS to find out.

So, what do you guys think of this year’s nominees? Sound of in the comments section.

Dylan P. Gadino

Dylan is the founder and editor emeritus of Laughspin.

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