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Comedy Review: Mark Poolos, Unbridled Enthusiasm
Mark Poolos: Unbridled Enthusiasm
3 stars (out of 5)
Mark Poolos’ Unbridled Enthusiasm bounds from subject to subject and leaves no doubt that the veteran comic puts on a quality live show when he traipses similarly from city to city, as he will again in early January. On many of his musings throughout the 16-track CD, Poolos hits.
Charmingly imaginative bits like his conception of the “Creep Squad,” the perverted version of Best Buy’s Geek Squad that service the warranty of vibrators help propel the laughter.. As you can imagine from this first example, Poolos really doesn’t worry too much about exposing the palate of the listener to some less than savory images, but it’s all in good fun as you sample from each kiosk in the food court of ridiculousness. With much of the album seeming non-sequitur, some listeners could be left looking for a bit more tangible guidance through the set.
One successful ongoing thread is a joke about an IHOP waitress who would expose herself for 41 dollars, a price Poolos, to decent size laughter, considers to be highly trivial and rather low. He revisits the joke at the end of the set to tell the actual story of the encounter, giving a believable perspective that is very appropriate in the winding tracks of the album, and you can feel the audience ratcheting their awareness back to reality and away from Mark Poolos’s world of anything-goes. It should be said that the rather long CD certainly has a decent portion of high-rate jokes, like Poolos admitting he isn’t worried about someone being offended by an ADHD joke because they will soon be chasing a butterfly.
A main complaint would be that the choppy trajectory of the show, with largely unrelated jokes, doesn’t seem to expand in an insightfully moral way, meaning, rather than an added dimension the album feels to always be playing a card of the same suit. Perhaps, Poolos was gunning for a second gear with the album’s innovative conclusion, but the track “Alternative Ending” is startling in its repetition of jokes told earlier in the CD, and rather off putting, while “Fourth Wall Killer” is another prideful track where perhaps a retrospection on the recording process feels forced in this case, although commonly deployed.
This CD is certainly enjoyable, and there is a lot of funny on it that can make for a hell of a night out, as I do believe Poolos delivers to his audiences on tour…as a whole it simply lacks a direct provocation of major social rumination. It does not question the self; it simply enjoys the hell out of it.
Chris Milea is a recovering liberal arts student graduating from New Paltz in August 2012.
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