After an opening theme song of sorts, Martin stalls the way his old boss Conan O'Brien does: by talking about the show and how many jokes it' going to have in it. At this point, you may be wondering whether buying a comedian' album was a wise choice when you can see one perform on YouTube for about $14 less. Fortunately, he soon launches into his jokes-yes, they are jokes; not long rambling bits-and you start to appreciate Martin as the more adorable, and sober, Mitch Hedberg that he is.
Many of the one-liners are as dry as "Update"-era Norm Macdonald' bits: "The worst time to have a heart attack is during a game of charades, especially if your teammates are bad guessers. The only time worse would be during a game of Fake Heart Attack." Martin' at his best when he' taking us through such slightly sinister thoughts. Hell, let' see another one. "Every fight is a food fight"when you're a cannibal."
Later, Martin wonders why there aren't any positive mysteries. Instead of the typical "Who killed the butler?" he would like to see "Who made cookies?" or "Somebody cleaned my room"?" He caps this thread off by telling us that if he ever owned a bookstore, he'd hide the mystery section so people would have to hunt for it.
Unfortunately, the parade of quick-hitting quips that would make Jack Handy proud (some told over twee musical accompaniment, to boot) gives way to the song "Sames & Opposites." In it, Martin explains how a cactus and chair are opposites, while a squirrel and a can are "sames" when there' a bee bee gun in his hand. Chuckle worthy, sure, but the lyrics could have been scribbled by a creative fifteen-year-old after getting drunk for the first time and don't seem to fit with his stronger material.
That' not to say that there aren't successful songs. For instance, "Personal Information Waltz," includes SNL' Will Forte belting out exaggerated moans behind spoken jokes. The strongest line being, "I used to compete in sports a lot, but then I realized you can buy trophies. Now I'm good at everything." It' a perfect bit for Martin as it pulls together both the juvenile and conniving aspects of his shtick. These Are Jokes is a pleasant mixture of childish imagination and dark wit, with a generous sprinkling of sincerity and grandmas.
These Are Jokes includes a DVD of Martin' recent and older performances as well as some animations. It was released by Comedy Central Records on September 26th.