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Album Review: Doug Benson – Hypocritical Oaf

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For the benefit of anyone unfamiliar with his previous albums or appearances on Comedy Central or the documentary Super High Me, comedian Doug Benson’s brand of stand-up is largely in the realm of stoner humor. The beauty of stoner humor is that one does not need to be stoned, or have ever been high, to get it. Surely everybody knows by now what happens to people under the influence of marijuana and the endless potential for hilarity that can ensue.

Hypocritical Oaf, Benson’s third album, is a recording of a performance given on 4/20, the most fitting of dates, and opens with an acknowledgement of the special day. Despite being recorded on the stoner holiday, Hypocritical Oaf is not merely 50 minutes of jokes about pot, and Benson punctuates the cannabis jokes with other anecdotes and observations. After that opening acknowledgement and some self-deprecation over penis size, Hypocritical Oaf gets off to a rough start before launching into an unremarkable anecdote about being high on an airplane.

It isn’t long before Benson transitions to toilet humor on “The Track with the Stupid Fart Joke”, with its juxtaposition of fart jokes and a rant on the aversion television producers have towards potentially offending corporate sponsors, ultimately proving more amusing than “Peanut Lady”. Curiously, Doug Benson has an inexplicable ability to get away with gags that other comics could not, such as an imitation of the mentally handicapped. On “Booty/Weedy Text”, Benson acknowledges his tendency to become easily distracted, and it shows. Unfortunately, Hypocritical Oaf is a series of jokes that mostly end anticlimactically before awkwardly transitioning to the next.

The defining moment comes on “Sitting There in Your Own Filth”, when Benson asks the non-stoners in the crowd to applaud–only the faintest of claps are audible. Despite being known primarily as a stoner comic, it appears he has found an appreciative audience among the sober. Although Hypocritical Oaf has some amusing stories, a true laugh out loud moment never surfaces. If the laughter on the recording is any indication, however, the audience of fans, 4/20-friendly and otherwise, sounds plenty amused throughout the album.

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