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ImageKurt Braunohler’s debut album How Do I Land is a remarkable first entry – Kurt’s been producing comedy online through various web series’ for about a decade, and can often be seen doing sketches with Kristen Schaal of Flight of the Conchords fame.  This last year he hosted a short-lived IFC show entitled Bunk, which if you haven’t seen, you have something in common with everyone you will meet in your entire lifetime.ImageGet it?  He has a cat in his pocket.  I don’t know how this didn’t appeal to everyone.

Failed television show aside, let me start by saying that the material on the album is funny.  It’s definitely very, very funny.  Kurt’s timing and delivery is unbelievably honed, and the jokes are very delicately crafted to match the energy that Kurt puts out on stage – which is a very manic, very precise delivery reminiscent of a mix of Pete Holmes’ energy and Myq Kaplan’s fine control of the English language. 
The only point where the material slightly lags is in the content – despite being very well written, the comedy is all very personal, and concentrates a lot on his failures.  We get it, Kurt – you are totally flawed, and in no way should we think you’re a strong, successful cool guy.  You’re one of us!  It’s fine to do some self-deprecating humor, but it shouldn’t be the lynchpin of your entire album.  And the humor that wasn’t self-deprecating was all directed at himself – I’d love to see him look outwards a bit.

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We get it, Shruggy McShruggerson.  Just because you’re the skinny, young Jim Gaffigan doesn’t mean you have to follow in his footsteps to success and financial security.

Where Kurt’s album really falls short is in how one can’t help feel while listening that you’re missing something by not seeing it in person.  So much of Kurt’s delivery depends on how expressive facially he is, not to mention the fact that Kurt often in the set pulls out physical bits and props that just don’t quite translate into an album.

All the negatives are so outweighed by Kurt’s masterful writing and delivery – I want to be very clear, this is a very good album.  It’s remarkable, but it isn’t great – and it is so, so close to great.  The bottom line?  Definitely worth a listen, especially if you’re into anti-comedy.  Is it worth a second listen?  Perhaps not.

★★★★ / ★★★★★ ½    |    4 out of 5.5 stars

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