After hearing the comedy of Mike Bocchetti for the first time, you might wonder “What’s the catch?” After all, he is not your typical stand-up despite being a veteran of the industry (he started performing in 1992).
In fact, when the “Shakespeare of Staten Island” reached national recognition as a frequent guest of Opie and Anthony throughout the past decade, the hosts and their listeners often laughed at him and his unorthodox comedic style, not with him. They made him the punchline of their jokes and it made for an uneasy listen at times.
With the upcoming February 22 release of his new album Thank You!, an interesting turn of events has occurred. Instead of audiences looking at Bocchetti as the butt of the joke, the album affords an opportunity for the public to see him as a real funny man. As he develops his set, Bocchetti becomes a modern day arbiter of the Dangerfield-esque style of self-deprecating one-liners. His patrons repay his efforts with the chuckles, chortles, and belly-laughs befitting of a tried and true professional stand-up.
Mind you, Bocchetti’s technique hasn’t changed one iota since he began his career nearly three decades ago. He still uses a Tommy gun-like delivery of quick and almost expected one-liners that either hit their mark or miss the target altogether. Yet with Thank You!, the New York native is on point with his humor full of relatable situations, personal jabs, and simple yet effective punchlines that strike fast and hard each time.
An album like Thank You! can do either one of two things: catch you off-guard with its simplicity and bring a sense of amusement or grate you after 5 minutes of hearing the same formulaic and quickly agitating approach. While it could have easily gone down the latter road, Bocchetti’s penchant for re-affirmation (coming in the form of his “thanking” the audience after every one of their laughs) is actually quite charming and inspiring in its presentation.
Also, while Bocchetti’s humor may come off as crass and common to some, there is a sincerity and honesty found within his brand of locker room talk. He’s an everyman with everyday views and problems. If you listen carefully, he presents the best way to deal with and cope with these everyday conflicts: a touch of honest humor.
When you hit play on Thank You!, you’ll get what you would expect from a comic like Bocchetti. He will take you on a 40-minute trip through the mind of a blue-collar comedian trying to understand his crazy, befuddled and often defeatist lifestyle. As you take this journey with him, you ultimately relate with him and create a bond that helps one discover the overarching absurdity found in your shared experiences. As a result, you do the only thing you can do when faced with such nonsense—you laugh.
This time, however, the act of laughter comes without feelings of guilt or remorse for doing so. When the laughs do come, they don’t come at Bocchetti’s expense. They come because of his successful stand-up performance.
Mike Bocchetti’s Thank You! is available now on iTunes and Stand Up! Records.