Published Jan 27, 2015After a brief and reportedly tumultuous year at Saturday Night Live, Brooks Wheelan's This Is Cool, Right? marks his return to stand-up. However, Wheelan is understandably impacted by the pressure to maintain success after his dismissal from the iconic NBC sketch show.
"I've never recorded an album. This is my first one. Like, what if I just shit the bed?" Wheelan asks as he begins the show. He then narrates his interactions with the audience, as if he were an outsider observing the crowd like an alien entity. It's delivered with an ironic tone, but has a hint of genuine exploration. Nonetheless, Wheelan makes it clear that stand-up is his domain, and he's perfectly comfortable digging into odd and embarrassing topics. He tells stories about everything from seeing the internet for the first time, to the excruciating pain of dipping his genitals in his brothers' mouthwash. Some of the highlights include Wheelan's hilarious narrative about waking up with melted butter on his crotch and thinking he had a horrifyingly rare STD, and promising a random girl a pair of tickets to Saturday Night Live in exchange for two glow sticks while high on ecstasy. Wheelan's story about his obsession with secretly making tournament brackets with his classmates' names is unique and comical, and his retelling of the way he dealt with a drunk heckler yelling out "Love Shack" is flawlessly funny.
Having said that, This Is Cool, Right? is not an exemplary album. The first three chunks are filled with unremarkable observational humour, and his session of pitching his rejected Saturday Night Live sketches falls flat towards the end, due both to its length and the obscurity of some of his references. Also, although it is fascinating, his illustration of the correlation between his need to do comedy and witnessing his father pummel an opossum to death with a hammer is more terrifying than amusing.
Wheelan's hour is entertaining but, aside from the fantastic track "Butter Prank Stuff," it isn't consistent enough to be lauded as a great debut. (Comedy Dynamics)