Published May 16, 2016Toronto comedian Craig Fay is king of the nerds. The science-and-dinosaur-obsessed stand-up comic, who daylights as an engineer of all things, is a Seinfeld-meets-educational-podcast sort of comedian. Observational and self-reflective, with a taste for the neurotic, Fay's new album Helicopter Rich is a worthwhile listen worth playing multiple times over.
Helicopter Rich is a reference to a joke in which someone can afford to buy but one helicopter — not a reference to a dude named Richard with helicopter-like physical attributes — that takes place near the end of the record, but encompasses all Fay's best qualities. His keen eye both for the outrageous and the trivial gives him an uncanny ability to make the obvious strange and the innocuous bizarre.
He's reasonably safe on this record, but being a self-described fan of science, he does spend a decent amount of time ridiculing pseudo-science, alternative medicine, anti-evolution theories and our strange attachment to Toronto's debatably effective garbage disposal system. For the most part, though, Craig Fay focuses on his own place in the world, his place in awkward conversations, his earliest tribulations in gym class and his experiences as a Torontonian.
He's is a fragile sort; Fay's painfully relatable bit on high school volleyball is about as memorable as the hurtling leather-bound horrors themselves. That relatability nature might be his greatest selling point when combined with the keen insight that allows him to take subjects familiar to everyone and twist them into something new and laughable.
There are a couple of moments where the strength of the gag wasn't quite enough to support the length of it — a six-minute bit that could have been four — and Fay's material is at times a little predictable, but for the most part, Helicopter Rich is a well-paced and well-written record delivered solidly. (Independent)