Ian Karmel 9.2 on Pitchfork
Published Nov 13, 2015Mere inches away from "comedic force of nature" territory, Ian Karmel's set here is a torrent of pop culture observations that he spins into ridiculous anecdotes. He's not a one-liner guy, but his bits come together as rapid-fire non-sequiturs, rumbling into something coherent.
He dismantles a man in the audience who, instead of laughing at jokes, says disruptive things like "hilarious" out loud, providing Karmel with the opportunity to briefly and magically cull from his mental catalogue of cultural references in a biting bit of improv. Somehow, he gets out of that into "Pet Names," where he highlights our disturbing use of the term "baby" to describe our lovers.
When he delves into his own life, it's only to pull up silly things about the origins of his name or the time he worked at a Netflix call centre where he had to placate senior citizen customers about the state of Forrest Gump's health. Karmel displays conviction and confidence in his stuff on this well-crafted and endlessly rewarding record. (Kill Rock Stars)