Hey: Listen to the track below, “Least Favorite Race,” before you read this post. Go ahead. Do it. Click the button. Maybe put some headphones on to make it as intimate as possible—to make it sound like Adam Cayton-Holland is talking directly to you, or whatever room you might currently be in. And then, after listening to it (or, okay, even while listening to it, if you’d like) read all the stuff I wrote below. This is just a humble suggestion, of course.
Here’s what we like about this track from Adam Cayton-Holland’s upcoming third album, Performs His Signature Bits: It plays on a hackneyed, shock jock radio setup about racist stereotypes, and then turns it into a bit of intentionally awkward audience confrontation. The joke isn’t some of the witless, old-fashioned racism you might expect when you see a middle-aged white guy comic start talking about the race that he hates the most. It’s the first full joke on the album, and a risky way to start a set, but it’s also a great introduction to what Cayton-Holland does throughout the album.
Recorded at Brooklyn’s Union Hall, Performs His Signature Bits reaffirms Cayton-Holland as one of those most valuable of comedic voices: a pragmatic straight-shooter who never quite resorts to lazy cynicism. And yes, as shown by “Least Favorite Race,” he also likes to fuck with his audience. His jokes about floss, Harper Lee turning Atticus Finch into a racist in her (almost-posthumous) second novel, and owning too many dogs all zag in surprising directions, tweaking the expectations (and comfort level) of his audience.
Performs His Signature Bits is Cayton-Holland’s third stand-up album, and first for Comedy Central Records, and will be released everywhere stand-up albums can be streamed and bought on March 23, 2018. (Including at iTunes.) That’s exactly one month from today. That’s lots of time to listen to this one track over and over in a manic attempt to exhaust that which is inexhaustible: the wise and powerful comedy of Mr. Adam Cayton-Holland.