There was a time when I would listen to Bill Cosby records. But as I told you all recently that time is most certainly over. I still retain some affection for the idea of a comedy record – and by that I mean an LP, a stand-up comedy show pressed to vinyl. There’s something wonderfully indulgent about it – you sit down, alone, and listen. You get up in the middle of it to change sides. You sit back down and listen. Presumably, in the sixties and seventies – and even into the early 1980s – people bought comedy records and had parties, invited people over to hear the then-latest routines.
I would never play a comedy record for someone else (unless they asked). I wouldn’t expect them to sit still and silent, wouldn’t want them to. I would never force a comedy record on someone is what I mean.
Comedy records work for me as a chance to sit down and relax, to transport myself – too – to another time and place. Most of the comedy LPs I have are old – very old. Pre-owned, pre-loved. I bought them because I wanted to learn. And laugh. And because I enjoy the time out from listening to music, the TV is off, the book stays on the shelf, it’s a way to unwind, be screen-free and almost living in another era for a few minutes now and then.
Most recently I bought a Peter Sellers record. I bought it for the cover alone. Cruel, brutal – darkly funny. But I also used to have some of Peter Sellers’ routines on CD, so I knew what I was buying. I also bought Neil’s Heavy Concept Album. I’m not sure I needed to. Which is precisely why I had to have it. A fun indulgence.
But just recently I’ve noticed a string of comedy albums being released on vinyl – strange in this day and age I figured. I get my comedy from YouTube most often, occasionally from the library on CD, sometimes – as with a recent album by Sarah Silverman – I even get sent it to review. The Silverman is not all that great, but I note it is available on vinyl. Odd.
But kinda cool. Nice to have the option. I wouldn’t own it because I didn’t think it was good enough – but the idea of finding a modern comedy classic for the collection…well, it appeals to the nerd record-collector in me.
Jim Gaffigan’s comedy albums are decent – but I’m not sure I’d sit down with an LP. Nice to have that option perhaps, but who is buying brand new comedy records on vinyl? People must be – they exist.
A strange concept – perhaps. As I say, YouTube gives us all the comedy we might need. There are podcasts too, free to download. And many other ways to acquire the stand-up comedy you might need. Netflix has you more than covered…quality isn’t always there concern of course.
I note there’s a well-regarded podcast – called Comedy on Vinyl – I borrowed their logo for the thumbnail for this post. I’m about to dive into that podcast in earnest. It’s a slog through comedy albums (vinyl, as the podcast suggests) I’m expecting to hear about some of the comedy albums I’ve already collected, it’ll no doubt have me gathering up many more.
Anyone else like the idea of sitting down with a comedy record? Or would you only ever do this occasionally and with a cheap, pre-loved, second-hander? Some Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart for instance?
Who is buying the new comedy albums on vinyl? Is it you?