The best comedy albums usually offer us equal parts “holy shit” moments of recognition, “oh my fuck” moments — where the comic plants an image in your head you never, ever wanted to see — and of course, huge laughs.
David Huntsberger’s well written and structurally sound album Humanitis offers the former two assets in surplus while the supply of laughs feels a little light, leaving the listener with a slight case of ambivalence.
To be clear, you will laugh at Huntsberger; you’ll also accept his theories. You’ll cringe, as well. But the moments that occupy the space between uncomfortable and hilarious burn.
And Humanitis, will make you feel the burn in so, so many ways. You wouldn’t think it just from listening to the first track, though: he kicks his hour off with some fairly tame banter about drunk driving and blacking out. Standard fare for a comedy club.
But Humanitis doesn’t stop there. After the seemingly obligatory booze-related chat, Huntsberger launches into more cringe-inducing, edgy and potentially offensive material– whether he has us imagine two 500-pound people conceiving a child with the help of a funnel (“You’re welcome!” he says, when the audience groans when they picture the act – thanks a lot, David, I’m in literal pain right now just having remembered that joke), or whether he considers how some special education teachers are not “in it for the love of the game,” but just “like a quiet classroom.”
To his credit, Huntsberger acknowledges that most of the audience is offended by the bit – but that doesn’t stop him from soon offering an impression of a young man with cerebral palsy.
Aside from Huntsberger’s “I can’t believe he went there, holy fuck” material, the comic also entertains – in a comedic way, of course – loftier, more scholarly ideas that you’d imagine being considered by chronic stoners or graduate students. In an almost Malthusian manner, he laments the maldistribution of human reproduction, worrying about the consequences of dumb folks having too many kids by accident, and smart folks trying crazy-hard to procreate but failing to do so.
He draws parallels between the human body and Earth, imagining what would happen if tiny people started living and working on the body (our blood is the ocean, man! Tiny people would cultivate land between our toes and we’d try to kill them when they develop cars!).[audio:http://www.punchlinemagazine.com/audio/huntsberger.mp3]
And so on. As oddball as these moments seem, you’ll often find yourself nodding in agreement when he connects those socially critical moments to our own scientific-theological dichotomy. Or something.
Overall, Humanitis makes for an interesting and humorous foray into the cringe-inducing, the offensive and the erudite. Though there are a few moments that detract from the album’s overall quality – a bit on metrosexuality might work better in 2003, for example – Humanitis is certainly worth a listen. Especially if you want to imagine two 500-lb. people getting it on, funnel style. Sorry.
To snag yourself a copy of Humanitis, just click the image below!