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ALBUM REVIEW: Jamie Kilstein

Brooklyn comic lets it all out on third album

  • Jamie Kilstein
  • Jamie Kilstein
  • Jamie Kilstein
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If you like angry, breathless ranting, then you are going to love Libel, Slander, and Sedition, the latest offering from comedian Jamie Kilstein.  No more than a second after he takes the microphone, the audience is subjected to an unfiltered invective of scathing cynicism revolving around everything from homophobia, “idiot Christians and Muslims” to self-reflection on being a terrible son. Jaime Kilstein’s comedy directive is clear: infuse as much political railing into the most amount of words in the least amount of time.  And most of the time it comes across great.

Kilstein has a great ability to filter through a cascade of material that would lead conservative groups to up and walk out – which happens multiple times during his set.  But there is something to be said about a comic who can walk parts of a crowd and still manage to keep his momentum going.  Kilstein’s razor-toothed criticism isn’t limited to focusing on America’s evil consumerism either, and he manages to turn his spastic ranting onto himself, reflecting on his “asshole father” who “always yelled at [him] for NO reason” except for “always stealing and smoking pot in the house!” followed by an adulthood shock of “Oh my God it was me!”   There are times though, which leave more to be desired.  Kilstein falls into a similar pool of ideology and mannerism as other well-known satirists like Patton Oswalt and the late Bill Hicks. Much like Oswalt, many jokes toss out a string of harsh attacks and resolve with some silly babbling.  However, the dissonance between caustic, anti-establishment cynicism doesn’t quite mesh all the time with the tandem wackiness because it feels tacked on as an afterthought to smooth out the prodding.  Libel, Slander, and Sedition likes to focus on blatant human hypocrisy, but some perspectives come across as little more than high-school anarchistic harangue while being a tad more articulate.  Kilstein has a lot to say, but a number of his jokes lack the cleverness that would bridge the gap between commentary and comedy.   However, Kilstein is able to turn one sentence into a five-minute manifesto, while amazingly maintaining oxygen flow to his brain.  Where lesser comics would have passed out through sheer exertion, Kilstein rambles through a barrage of commentary and sticks the landing with only a minor pause before tearing back into the gauntlet, and he does this well.  The album has definite strong suits with material that undoubtedly delivers, but it also has its moments of feeling forced and manufactured. His album does have its fair share of genuine hilarity though, so who knows? Maybe there is more revving underneath the hood of Kilstein’s brain, and it just takes time to settle in for his seething contempt and rapid-fire delivery, which not only drives the point home, but also straight through the garage door.    

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  • Rating: 4 of 5