Published Oct 11, 2016Ali Siddiq's Damaged Goods was recorded at the Houston Improv in Texas. The set transitions smoothly from jokes about Siddiq's childhood to stories about his children; it also connects his observational humour to his race humour well.
The strength of this album is that it's hard to pick out one or two bits that really shine, because they're all funny. Having said that, Siddiq's deconstruction of stereotypes related to chicken and watermelon are particularly interesting, as he explains that while everyone likes these foods, he still dislikes it when people offer him either one. His introduction of the stereotype of white people liking trail mix is not only funny but demonstrates the arbitrary nature of such broad generalizations.
Whether Siddiq is talking about getting beat up by his mom in his sleep, his competitive daughter, or learning about white people — the audience on the recording is all in, all the way through and their enjoyment is infectious. The issue with the audience's enthusiasm is that sometimes you lose a word and, on a couple occasions, the punch line hinges on that lost word. For that reason, a couple jokes that seemed to kill in the live recording make little impact on the album simply because you can't quite figure out what was said.
Otherwise, Siddiq's pace and tone help his storytelling translate well to an audio platform. Although there are a couple act-outs that you miss on an audio-only platform — like what must be an impression of his son doing the "move your feet" drill during a basketball game — they are infrequent enough that they don't detract much from the humour.
Siddiq's jokes are highly relatable, arranged well, and performed with such charming ease that I've listened to the album three times already. It might be called Damaged Goods but it's clear that this album is pretty damn good. (Comedy Central)