• Russ Meneve: Stray Doggie Style

    russ200.jpgDelivering concise jokes, at times with an air of faux misogyny, it’s as if there’s an understated, snarky frat boy inside Russ Meneve. Joke by joke, bit by bit, he lets the little sneak out, constantly minding himself, however, never allowing his act to topple over into a sloppy mess of misdirected vulgarity.

    For Meneve, ill-colored interjections — about his grandfather fisting his grandmother or how he ate so much Chinese food that he “shit a cat” are punctuation marks for his consistently brilliant comedy. Meneve is matter-of-fact about everything, which helps make his premises believable and prevents him from overselling himself.

    He sets up jokes quickly and punches them through with great ease. And then he gives the audience just enough time to prep for the next setup. And on it goes through Stray Doggie Style in a glorious, well-paced collection of Meneve’s best bits.

    Recorded at Carolines, the Comedy Cellar, The Improv, New York Comedy Club and The Laugh Factory — the North Jersey native’s five main performance spaces in New York City — Stray Doggie Style is as diverse as it is funny.

    Meneve deftly swerves from quirky observational stuff (veterinarians cost more than a human doctor) to the esoteric — “With all the chaos and the freak random disorder, isn’t it amazing how absolutely perfect that seam is that runs down your nut sac?” — to doing this kind of bait-and-switch thing, as when he asks audience members their favorite sexual position: “I like when a girl is on the bottom‚ rock bottom. She’s strung out on drugs, she’ll do anything for a dollar.”  Regardless of his attack, the results are almost always positive.

    In addition to the more than 50 tracks on the album, there are a few short audio-video extras worth checking out, like a track that finds Meneve stringing his dirtiest material together just to annoy a woman who refuses to laugh. Hint: listen long enough to get to the Terry Schiavo joke. There are also two stellar segments from Comedy Central’s animated series, Shorties Watching Shorties, where Meneve’s jokes are put to fast-paced cartoon sketches.

    Dylan P. Gadino

    Dylan is the founder and editor emeritus of Laughspin.

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