Anthony Jeselnik


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An evil mix of Steven Wright, Richard Belzer, Christopher Walken, Daniel Tosh, and the Addams Family's butler Lurch, Anthony Jeselnik is standup's man in black, dressed in that absence of color from his head to his toes to his heart. After all, the kickoff track here is called "Rape," and if that weren't enough warning, Jeselnik proudly alerts his audience about the trifecta of rape jokes about to come, seeing them as the three great pillars of his act. They're not, as his story of growing up with a Holocaust-denying mother who is also obsessed with Princess Di's death ("Her entire house is filled with nothing but pictures of Princess Diana, and they're all from right after the accident. Most them she drew.") is even better in a Grand Guignol style, while the cataclysmic comedy pyramid called "Offensive" piles on the sick jokes with each gasp-worthy moment topping the previous, resulting in a bit that should hang in the Louvre if they ever move that museum to the land of the damned. Alternative lifestyles get a pass ("I think my friend Jeff is gay. I dunno; I'm so bad with names."), domestic violence is just fodder ("I'd never hit a woman, not even if she had a knife, or a stutter."), and the mentally challenged, the suicidal, and the terminally ill are shown no mercy. If this all sounds like the work of a gross, mean fiend, it's the restrained pace and the skewering wit that makes Jeselnik a Charles Addams-styled modern master of the macabre. Take a surprisingly crafted, shockingly funny trip to the dark side and party just like Caligula would, but be very wary of anyone who says "Jeselnik? He's my favorite!"

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