Kyle Cease is one of those comedians that you have to see live. He’s just a delight from stage, and its hard to compare his labyrinthine storytelling to anything anyone else is doing. He’s also a fantastic comedy teacher, and before we go into this review it should be said that if you are a young comedian, and he’s teaching in your town, you MUST go.
All that being said, Cease’s stage energy is hard to translate to an all-audio album, and his most recent release, “I Highly Recommend This,” struggles with just that. Cease shines whenever he goes off the script (which is sometimes scripted in itself) to such an extent that its hard to enjoy the written bits once he swings back to them. I kept thinking “Go into the audience again. Go on a tangent again. Get distracted again!” and to his credit Cease often does just that. Still, when he’s back onto his jokes it’s not the same.
This is why Cease is such a great live act. Only live do you get to see the strange, non-linear jokes form out of thin air. Another Crave favorite,T.J. Miller, is similar; you can’t get it until you’ve seen it live. Though, if we have to compare the two men, Miller has found a way to capture this on camera and audio only slightly better.
This is no dud of an album by any means. We at Crave rank it a 7 or 8 out of 10. It would be a full 10 if it we were seeing Cease live. The material and delivery is strong, but on the CD, it always seems like it should be better, and that’s a dangerous feeling to give an audience. In the end I couldn’t take off the headphones and was left with a smile.
I was also left with a deep need to go find Kyle and see him live on stage, and perhaps that’s the best thing a comedian can do with any album, drive people to his/her live shows. Of every aspect of this album it’s that feeling that I “highly recommend.”
Here's a clip of Cease, tho not from this album:
You can buy the album HERE on Amazon.