The thirty-five year old stand up has been performing for over ten years and in that time has had many late night television spots, albums and comedy specials. His brand of comedy is more finely tuned than others his age and his latest album is no exception.
My Big Break marks the third album from the Wisconsin-born comedian. The title and main subject matter of the album is inspired by an accident that broke both his feet. While misjudging the height of a cliff, he leapt and simultaneously landed and shattered the bones in his feet. After crawling down a mountain back to safety, Mauss went through an exceptionally long recovery period that forced him to get better in the basement of his parent’s house.
The thirteen tracks chronicle the highs and lows of a near-death experience and the type of person it can make you. He speaks about past employment, road rage, bitterness and pessimism and since all the material is rooted in the album’s inspiration— each track flows well into the next. It is obvious to any listener that the material has been properly honed. He uses silence without being afraid of losing momentum and turns it into heightened audience reactions. The set ups are never too long without audible giggles. He isn’t one to shout and even when he gets audibly agitated; his voice is never a yell likens to Seinfeld’s audible sensibility. Even when interacting with the audience, he doesn’t let their answers overrule the general direction he wants to take. Although the album is inspired by an event rooted in time, the subject matter doesn’t contain key items that could date it.
A highlight is Mauss describing the similarities and differences between his experience and the true story of Aron Ralston in the book and film 127 Hours. Mauss criticises Ralston’s logic when he claimed cutting his arm off made him stronger to which he responds, “Oh yeah? What are ya benching these days?” triggering some of the biggest laughs (and awes) from the audience.
His material has moments of scientific knowledge mixed in with “did you know ____?” moments in a variety of scientific areas. It makes perfect sense when you realize Mauss is the creator and host of the weekly podcast Here We Are where he interviews science experts across the country. He has also been a guest on Doug Loves Movies, WTF, You Made it Weird and The Bertcast. Having heard him as a guest on several podcasts it is obvious he is as talented and funny on stage as he is off.
It’s a shame he had to go through such physical pain to get where he is with the album. I look forward to seeing what Shane Mauss is up to next.
Shane Mauss’ My Big Break was released by Comedy Dynamics and is available on iTunes, Amazon, and all other digital retailers Today: May 26th, 2015.
Kaitlynn hails from a city in the suburbs of Toronto, a place akin to The Simpsons' Springfield because of its Nuclear Power Plant. Tired of glowing in the dark, she started working in theatre with an undergrad in Drama. She recently completed her postgrad in fashion/textiles in a small, isolated town in Scotland where she tried haggis and was mistaken for American. Her interests are varied to say the least but you can always catch her listening to podcasts and getting artsy in her studio. You can read her interviews with comedians each week on Splitsider.com where she also contributes to the weekly podcast review.