Recording information: Comedy Works, Denver, CO (09/2010).
Photographer: Natalie Brasington.
Strange but familiar, wild but comfortable, Kyle Cease is a free-spirited standup with a unique act. If you walk in late, the set captured here seems impossibly cluttered and kinetic for kinetic's sake, but strap in early and hand over your attention and this tsunami of "spandex with the balls cut out" and "Doing Comedy Over Another Comic" -- Cease dropping hip-hop lingo over a recording of fellow comedian Ant -- sorts itself into some kind of pleasurable kaleidoscope. Innovative moments -- like when the comedian does a "greatest hit" off a previous CD, delivering it with all the gusto of Quiet Riot whipping out "Bang Your Head (Metal Health)" -- enter Andy Kaufman territory, but Cease isn't the alienating type. He touches upon pop culture in the hippest way possible, while borrowing just a tasteful touch of Dane Cook's swagger, making this small but enthusiastic audience hoot and holler like it's Friday night and the DJ just dropped their jam. His trip to Universal Studios involves taking every ride as a very serious, high-anxiety journey where riders are duty bound to help folks like Steven Spielberg and E.T. get back home, while "The News Is Planning to Kill You" fills every soul with depression, and then fills the commercial breaks with ads for anti-depressants. That's truly a bitter pill to swallow, but a split-second later, Cease is absurd, accusing the media of planting all those children down wells, and all those kittens in trees. It's a Bugs Bunny-styled explosion of buffoonery and brilliance, and one that's maintained the whole way through this aptly titled effort. ~ David Jeffries