I wish I'd been able to fashion a better reaction to the new Hedberg album, Do You Believe in Gosh?, but here's all I've got:
- I think it's the second-best of his albums (better than Mitch All Together, but still not anywhere close to the awesome peak of Strategic Grill Locations), because it's kind of a happy medium between the bookending pair: many of the jokes are rough and imperfect, and his nervousness regarding that is absolutely palpable, but he's also grown more comfortable onstage, so his delivery is smoother and a little more intense. Mitch was at his best, I think, when he wasn't at his best. His act wasn't anything close to an act, so when it was honest, slippery, stilted, and even scared shitless, that was when it was the most enjoyable. For me, anyway.
- The track entitled "Phil" was misleading. It is not, in fact, a long joke about a guy named Phil (his name is my name, too!) but a conversation between Hedberg and a guy in the audience whose name turns out to not be Phil. Confusing, and somewhat damaging to hopes.
- I think he was demonstrating a clearly maturing trajectory as a comic. His jokes were getting more intricate, more layered, moving away a little bit from the strictly absurdist-seeming one-liners and into the realm of the building, repeatedly peaking, payoff-providing joke. Thankfully, he hadn't started to move away from the cursing; I so enjoy his cursing ("The wolf'd huff and puff, and fuck shit up").
- My hope that heaven exists has been rejuvenated (if it doesn't, how am I going to get to have conversations with all of these people that died before I got the opportunity to speak to them?).
- It's a Mitch Hedberg album. Even the worst one is miles better than a Dane Cook record.