Mike Stanley's Tough Luck Chump on DVD
“Are there any other bald guys?” Mike Stanley asks the sold out crowd at the Lakeshore Theater in Chicago. When a man answers, Stanley eyes him and offers a comforting word from someone who knows his pain, “Shine on, you crazy diamond!”
In Tough Luck Chump many of Stanley’s jokes start off innocently enough, from being broke to losing his hair. However, before long it becomes apparent that the trajectory of his act isn’t on a parallel plane, and instead veers into sordid territory quite frequently and abruptly.
With a twinkle in his eye as he pauses for laughter, a story about being broke turns slowly but surely into a tale of performing oral sex on the hood of a snowmobile. “Notice I was the one [performing],” he reminds the audience, “because I’m a gentleman.” After the snowmobile joke, a trio gets up and walks within camera shot towards the back exit. He smirks, seemingly enjoying that he got under their skin. “Here’s where the show gets dirty kids, are you ready for it? This next bit contains salty language, but it’s peppered with morals.”
“Tell me Mike Stanley, you bald whimsical huckster,” he roars, pretending to be the voice of the crowd. As if by instinct, every setup is prefaced by the same look in his eyes, as if asking the audience if they’re prepared for the rest of the story. A joke about going to Vegas ends with Stanley miming how a female champion bowler once gave him a hand job (with her wrist guard on, of course). A joke about flatulence in a relationship expands into how the female act is always perplexing because it’s hidden so well. “Is that a clarinet?” he asks his figurative girlfriend, trying to find the source of the sound. “It throws you off like the first time you see a black clown.”
After starting his career five years ago, Touch Luck Chump is the comedian’s first and the rawness of Stanley’s act is both apparent and welcomed. Chump is out now on Stand Up! Records and comes with a bonus documentary about Stanley competing in the 2008 Boston Comedy Festival. (Stand Up! Records)