How to Speak Hip/Do It Yourself Psychoanalysis Kit

How to Speak Hip/Do It Yourself Psychoanalysis Kit

by Del Close
     
 

Del Close is an unsung hero of American comedy; in the 1950s, he was one of the early members of the St. Louis branch of the Compass Players, a theater troupe that would relocate from St. Louis to Chicago and in time change its name to the Second City, and after a few years in New York City, he returned to Chicago and Second City, becoming a cast member and…  See more details below

Overview

Del Close is an unsung hero of American comedy; in the 1950s, he was one of the early members of the St. Louis branch of the Compass Players, a theater troupe that would relocate from St. Louis to Chicago and in time change its name to the Second City, and after a few years in New York City, he returned to Chicago and Second City, becoming a cast member and later director of the company. Close also led an improv group at the nightclub Kingston Mines, and became a teacher and mentor to the likes of John Belushi, Dan Akroyd, Bill Murray, and John Candy, many of whom have sung his praises as a key inspiration on their work. While Close (who died in 1999) never became a star in his own right, he worked steadily as an actor and standup comic and cut a pair of fascinating comedy albums, which have been paired up on this CD reissue from Cherry Red's humor subsidiary Wisecrack Records. 1959's How to Speak Hip teamed him with fellow comic John Brent, who plays brain-cloudy beatnik Geets Romo, while Close is the relative straight man who interviews Geets about the finer points of hipster speech patterns while instructing the listener on how to embrace the language of cool. Beatnik humor was probably going out of date before this album made its way to record racks, but the banter between the laid-back but paranoid Geets and his often uncomprehending interviewer is very well played, and the comics both suggest a genuine familiarity with the hipster milieu, joking about a circle they've traveled in rather than lobbing spitballs from outside. The album has also gained a certain cult following thanks to Brian Wilson, who according to more than one source was a fan of the LP who liked to drop Geets' line "Then we'll get, you know, world peace" as a non-sequitur joke, though you don't have to be a Beach Boys obsessive to enjoy it in the 21st century. The Wisecrack release also includes a solo LP by Close, The Do It Yourself Psychoanalysis Kit, released earlier the same year, in which he portrays Dr. Siegfried Gestalt, a high-strung psychiatrist with a comic-opera Teutonic accent who on side one explains the process of analysis and asks the listener a number of pointed questions, and on side two features a therapy session with a certain Danish prince made famous by William Shakespeare. The jokes about therapy have dated about as well as the stuff about beatniks, but Psychoanalysis Kit gives Close a broader canvas for his comic stylings, and it's smart and witty stuff that still generates laughter almost half-a-century after it was recorded. Fans of classic comedy albums will certainly want to pick this up, and anyone with a weakness for the thinking person's cultural phenomena of the '50s will, like, dig it.

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Product Details

Release Date:
08/11/2009
Label:
Wisecrack
UPC:
5013929790223
catalogNumber:
2

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