Myq Kaplan: Vegan Mind Meld (Live at Comix!)
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
By Ryan P. Carey
Myq Kaplan — who changed the spelling of Mike when he was 14 — is the premier nerd comic working today. A verbal gymnast, Kaplan shreds the English language into polygons and injects them into your brain with a side of tolerance, human decency, social responsibility, artistic integrity, intellectual ambition, and other manifestations of the atheist-Jew vegetarian agenda.
And his jokes are really funny!
Mostly one-or-two-liners, Kaplan can spit out roughly 10 jokes a minute, all while trying to make you a better person. His comedy embraces the broad spectrum from conceptual segments to puns, and everywhere in between. His debut album, Vegan Mind Meld, is like that experiment you did in 2nd grade science where the teacher gives you an empty jar and a bowl of rocks, a bowl of smaller rocks, a bowl of sand, and a bowl of water — and tells you to figure out the right order in which to fill up the empty jar so as to get everything to fit inside. Except the jar is your brain, and the big rocks are stories, the small rocks are absurd comparisons, the sand is irony, and the water is endless word-play. The CD is more comedy per minute than I’ve heard on an album perhaps since Woody Allen. And by the way, if this paragraph makes any sense to you, you’re probably a Myq Kaplan fan already.
Kaplan’s comedy is decidedly higher-echelon in terms of intellect. It may not be accessible to all comedy fans (i.e. those who don’t understand set theory in mathematics). Literature, cinema, religion, and most commonly, social issues are all game for dissection under Kaplan’s wordy mental scalpel. This super-nerd was almost certainly pummeled mercilessly in high school, and his archetypal hipster phoenix has risen to destroy at last year’s Just For Laughs Festival and now has a CD of which he can be very proud.
The most exciting thing about Kaplan is that while honest intellectual comedy can often times lull on the punch lines (high-brow favorites like Bill Hicks, Marc Maron, and even George Carlin once in a while have punctuated their thought-provocation with dick jokes), he represents effective and socially conscious philosophy within the structure of one-liners, hilarious awful puns, and occasional filth. It’s a civics lesson, a linguistics lesson, and a philosophy lesson from a nasal, pretentious, vegan Jew. And the setups are funny, the punch lines are funny, the tags are funny.
These are very exciting times for intelligent hilarity.
Ryan P. Carey, D.D.S. is a Philadelphia-based comic and senior contributing writer for STAGE TIME. Check out his blog at http://dolphindentist.blogspot.com.