Editor’s Note: Welcome to Quarantainment, Vanyaland’s new series on what to watch, what to hear, and how to deal as the world engages in social distancing to combat the spread of coronavirus, or COVID-19. We’re all at home, we’re all online, and we’re all in this together. #StayTheFHome
It’s been a wild few weeks, to say the least, when it comes to the tightening restrictions on social distancing and self-quarantine in response to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. With the restrictions put in place by Governor Charlie Baker, we’ve seen multitudes of healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses, pharmacists etc.), retail and grocery store clerks and others in “essential” fields put in long, physically and mentally draining shifts to ensure that we’re taken care of and our needs for medical care, food, and medication are met.
Tucked away somewhere within those long, grueling bouts on the front lines are lunch breaks, coffee breaks, and smoke breaks that allow these workers a few moments to decompress, and we’re here to help in that decompression by providing a laugh or two.
Adding to the list of recommendations we shared awhile back, here are a few more comedy releases from over the years that, while they may not be exactly “new,” are short enough to fill your time away from the chaos, and still powerful enough to hopefully aid in giving you a little boost for the second half of the day.
Mitch Hedberg, Do You Believe in Gosh?
When discussing who may or may not be the greatest stand-up comedian ever, the late, great Mitch Hedberg is generally at least part of the conversation, and this album is just one of the many reasons why. Clocking in at just under 40 minutes, the surrealist legend is at the top of his game, as he takes the mundane and flips it into a series of thought-provoking musings that, if they don’t have you laughing at the idea of fajita-scented cologne, will catch you off guard with how confusingly simple his destination is. In more ways than one, this album is a “gold W.”
Robert Kelly, Live at the Village Underground
It’s been five years since Medford native Robert Kelly released his last album, but luckily, this material has maintained a powerful enough comedy punch to hold us over until the next one. From personal stories about the pains of being an emotional kid growing up in Boston in the ’70’s and ’80’s, to entirely-too-relatable experiences with aging and sex, as well as the pitfalls and joys of being a big fella, Kelly’s non-stop banger of a set remains what we feel is one of the best albums to listen, even after five years.
Ken Reid, The Vanity Project, Vol. 1: Hollywoodland
For anyone who is whole-heartedly proud to be from Boston and hates being called out for setting cars on fire regardless of whether our sports teams win or lose, you might want to sit this one out. However, for anyone who can look past Ken Reid’s scathing but, let’s be honest, pretty damn accurate criticism of his hometown and enjoys deliciously nostalgic personal reflections on teachers with hilariously cringy names and life as an angry punk rocker, this one’s for you.
Tom Segura, Completely Normal
Tom Segura has come a long way in the comedy game since this 2014 release, and he’s only raised the bar with his subsequent specials. Still, this 57-minute record remains one of his best and most quote-worthy efforts, as he riffs on the absurdities of The First 48 and everything Steven Seagal does, while peppering in enough self-deprecation to make this album a fully-encapsulating collection of hilarity, and a worthwhile endeavor you may find yourself revisiting more than once.
Kathleen Madigan, Gone Madigan
There are no big surprises, or explosive punchlines, or anything that could be considered even remotely hacky. All that you’ll find in Kathleen Madigan’s 2011 release is pure, gut-busting comedy that is both unrelentingly funny and unapologetically real. From her experiences on a USO tour with Kid Rock to adventures and reflections spawned from growing up in an Irish family, Madigan offers nothing but the best for the entirety of this 62-minute record.