• Rory Scovel: “Dilation” (Review)

    How to describe Rory Scovel: think Bert Kreischer meets Anthony Jeselnik. That is, picture a storyteller, philosopher, and absurdist, whom you can’t quite decide whether he’s a nice guy or a huge asshole. Either way, he’s pretty damn funny. And if that description sounds good to you, you’ll dig Dilation, Scovel’s debut album.

    A perfect example of Scovel’s brand of comedy comes on “Walk” when he berates people who think remaking The Karate Kid ruins the original version. He asks, “How perfect is your life where that was an issue for you?” Then, in an over-the-top Southern accent — Scovel’s from South Carolina — he exclaims: “What the fuck!? They’re remaking it!? Well, fuck me in the ass! I wanna fight somebody in Hollywood right now!”

    One of the best moments comes on “Smile” when Scovel asks: “Do you guys think that little people are really good at mini golf?” He relates how a little person told him that joke was offensive. He responds: “Picture yourself playing mini golf with a driver, swinging full swing, and the ball still only goes halfway. If you don’t laugh at that, well then fuck you.” He then adds, for our benefit: “Then I beat the shit out of him.”

    Rory Scovel — “Expand” by Laughspin

    The only justifiable knock one can lay on Scovel is that in the middle of the album, he inexplicably veers away from his material and starts using the audience for laughs. Sure, he’s initially chastised and, in response, he must do crowd-work. But once this plays out, Scovel returns to the audience and ultimately loses momentum. Luckily, he regains it shortly thereafter.

    At times, Scovel is outlandish and unnecessarily cruel. But it’s all in the name of comedy. And Dilation, is not, by any means, a far-reaching album that will attract masses of casual comedy fans. But if you consider yourself a bit of comedy scholar, you’ll likely find great pleasure in Scovel’s unorthodox approach to cracking wise.

    You can download Dilation at iTunes.

    Daniel Berkowitz

    Daniel Berkowitz is a Los Angeles-based graduate student focused on nonfiction writing, popular culture and advancing standup comedy's place in the academic realm. He's currently working on a book about how comedy affects democracy. He also really likes baseball.

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