Comedian and two-time Emmy-winning writer Josh Gondelman releases his third stand-up album today, Dancing on a Weeknight. It highlights the former pre-school teacher at his most joyful and cuddly. “I’m like if a cardigan were a person,” Gondelman comments early on, although that doesn’t mean he’s a G-rated Mr. Rogers type. Mr. Rogers surely never pondered the inspiration for the names of vibrator brands (well, certainly not on his show).
Married life informs much of the material in this set. This includes observations that in-laws are better than parents, because they don’t have a shared history: “Now I have a mother-in-law. That’s a new mom in my life who has never walked in on me masturbating. … Favorite mom by a mile and a half.”
He also discusses targeted ads for bro-courting wedding bands, including the poorly named “Lone Wolf” ring. And the set closes with a wedding reception anecdote, about a ridiculous Michael Jackson-impersonating DJ, that even holds up in the post-Leaving Neverland era.
Mostly, Dancing on a Weeknight highlights Gondelman’s status as a near-nebbish. He’s incredibly smart — nerdy, even — and admittedly unhip, but he’s ingratiatingly self-effacing. He’s too well-adjusted to be a neurotic comic. In fact, Gondelman is bubbly and charming as he discusses his senior pug’s health insurance or the unlikely time he found himself catcalled on the street.
Gondelman does some political material, but couches it in personal observations. As a former teacher, he is skeptical of Donald Trump’s suggestion to start arming educators, since Gondelman posits that teachers are “a gentle and cowardly people.” He expresses his admiration for Bernie Sanders’s confident belief that America was ready to vote for a “Curb Your Enthusiasm-level Jewish” president before the country even had a “transitional president that was Seinfeld-level Jewish.”
As on his two prior albums, Gondelman’s jokes come like a machine gun, complimented by his delivery, which is elegant and conversational. Each hour is like spending time with a quick-witted chum who is a lot of fun to catch up with.
Fans in New York and Los Angeles can attend album release shows for Dancing on a Weeknight, featuring Josh Gondelman and friends: Friday, April 19, at Union Hall in Brooklyn and Thursday, April 25, at Dynasty Typewriter in Los Angeles.
Dancing on a Weeknight is available now for download or streaming, and on limited edition vinyl.
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Justin Remer makes movies, directs music videos, and plays in the bands Duck the Piano Wire and Elastic No-No Band when he is not writing movie reviews. His folk-rock documentary MAKING LOVERS & DOLLARS is currently streaming on Amazon.