Many people usually say to me, "Hay Mark, why haven't you reviewed Bill Hicks yet?" Well, because I only have two of his seven CDs. As such, I've decided to review the lone LP by America's beloved funnyperson of yesteryear Ron Carey. Like Hicks, Ron Carey is a deeply religious man whose entire act revolves around the quirks and quillies of the Catholic faith. According to the liner notes, "Carey's comedy is satirical without being destructive; it is irreverent without being impious." Presumably the phrase "tedious without being funny" was omitted due to space restrictions, because this is one of the worst comedy albums I've ever heard by a non-Jew.
Aside from five minutes of lousy one-liners at the beginning, Carey's act is character-driven, with the unfunnyman playing the roles of various (fictional) religious and cultural figures in order to make a bunch of Catholic references that I guess were intended to be taken as 'jokes.' He sounds like a very nice young man on this LP, and I honestly do love one lengthy segment (which I'll get to in a minute), so I mean no offense to him personally if he's still alive. But my God, 7/8th of this album is the absolute SMELLY ARMPIT of family-friendly comedy.
Here, let me go track-by-track to demonstrate for you the limitless bowels of Ron "Drew" Carey's vision:
Track One. "The First Collection." Sample Joke: "I flew here on Pope Airlines. They have three convenient classes: Father, Son and Holy Ghost."
Track Two. "Monastery Indoctrination." In this piece, Ron "Jim" Carey asks that amusical question, "What if a monastery indoctrination was conducted by a former Army Sergeant?" Sample Joke: "I'm gonna make real men outta ya, strong men outta ya, tough men outta ya! Now take off your pants, shirts and jackets... and put on your little brown dresses."
Track Three: "Father Murphy." Sunday Morning 12:00 Mass, reading his announcements. Sample Joke: "Thursday night there'll be a lecture in the school auditorium on the evils of gambling. Friday night - Bingo!"
Track Four: "Petey The Priest Kit." Ron "Presidential Candidate John" Carey plays a TV pitchman for this new children's toy. Sample Joke: "Now with the Petey The Priest Kit, you can become a monsignor, a bishop, a cardinal and - you guessed it kids - you can become the biggie! You can become the Pope! Can you imagine how the other kids on your block will envy you when they see that big puff of white smoke coming from your chimney?"
Track Six: "The Liturgical Top Ten." Catholic Radio DJ announces the Top Ten records of the week. Sample Joke: "At number three again this week, it's The Apostles with 'Persecution's Breakin' Up That Old Gang Of Mine!'"
Track Seven: "Sermonette." A TV Sign-Off Sermon. Sample Joke: "The Lord said 'Let There Be Light.' Then the Lord said 'Let There Be Rain.' And then he said 'Chili con carne and sparkling champagne!'"
Track Eight: "The Last Collection." Ron "Porn Star and California Mayoral Candidate Mary" Carey's sign-off. One last unfunny joke not worth repeating here.
You may have noticed that I didn't mention track five. That's because I actually really, really like track five a lot. But I'm not ready to talk about it just yet. First I want to discuss why I own this album in the first place. I collect comedy albums. Specifically, CHEAP comedy albums. If I see a comedy album in a dollar bin (sometimes even a two-dollar bin) and it's by a funnyperson (or persons) that are not already represented in my collection, I buy it. This is why my comedy record collection goes from the top-level George Carlins, Steve Martins and Richard Pryors through the middling David Steinbergs, Lily Tomlins and Robert Kleins all the way down to the absolute TURDS of Marty Brill, Woody Woodbury and all those First Family pieces of shit. If you've seen a comedy album in a cheapy bin, chances are good that I own it. Belle Barth? Yep. The Conception Corporation? Yep. Firesign Theatre? Almost their entire catalog. Rodney Dangerfield, Stevens & Grdnic, Brother Sammy Shore, Jackie Mason, National Lampoon, Don Adams, Hudson & Landry, Murray & Freeman, Murray Roman, Flip Wilson? Ten more yesses and a howdy-doo! You sell 'em, I buy 'em. That's how this country works. And that's how I wound up with a goddamned album of CATHOLIC JOKES.
But as I said, there's one 11:00 minute piece on here that I just love to pieces. "Brother Love," in which Ron "Late Chicago Cubs Announcer Harry And/Or His Son, Atlanta Braves Announcer Skip" Carey portrays an over-the-top faith healer who is either Southern or Black, depending on however the hell his ridiculous fake accent is supposed to be taken. This bit is good! For once, Carey wrote actual jokes instead of just interjecting a bunch of Catholic terms into secular statements. Here are a few of my favorite bits from "Brother Love" for you to share with your friends here on Christmas Day 2005 -- imagine them being shouted by an overly energetic faith healer in a tent:
"I was looking directly at the Devil! And I went after him. And I KICKED him! And I BIT him! And I PUNCHED him! Then he punched me. And he kicked me! And he bit me! (pause) We liked the same things!"
"I walked in and there was a man there that was over 200 years old! He could not see! He could not walk; he could not talk; he could not hear! (pause) He was DEAD!"
"Wanna come up and whisper in my arms what you got wrong? You can come up to my arms and say it in my ear. Brother Love's arms are open to you. Come on! Come on! There, I got ya now. Tell me what ya got. (pause) LEPROSY!? GET OUTTA HERE!!!"
So you see, in addition to being a bunch of made-up bullshit, religion is also a laughing matter!
POST-ADDENDUM: Holy schnikes! Here's something I certainly didn't know until Reader Number A pointed it out to me: This Ron Carey fellow went on to be a featured performer on TV's Barney Miller! He played a policeman!
POST-POST-ADDENDUM: He was in a few Mel Brooks movies too!