Jeff Simmermon’s new stand-up album might have been recorded in his home of Brooklyn, but you can’t take the South out of a Southerner. Born and raised in Virginia, Simmermon is a connoisseur of real Southern food—which, as he basically points out in this clip from his new album Why You Should Be Happy, is something that’s ruined by the kind of pretension signified by the word “connoisseur.” Real Southern food, Simmermon argues, can’t be made by gourmet chefs in their farm-to-table restaurants. You have to taste the hard living and desperation of the cook in every bite of fried chicken, every time you lift a chunk of gravy-covered biscuit into your mouth. It’s the kind of truth you’d only realize if you, too, grew up eating this magical food in the land of its birth: the South.
If Simmermon’s voice is familiar, maybe it’s because you’ve heard him on This American Life or The Moth Radio Hour. Maybe you’ve heard him on Risk!, Kevin Allison’s weekly storytelling podcast. Maybe you’ve seen him perform his comedy live. Or maybe you’ve just sat near him at the Handsome Biscuit in Norfolk, Va., simultaneously feasting on one of their fried chicken and blue cheese biscuits.
Why You Should Be Happy is out today on 800 Pound Gorilla Records. You can find it Apple Music and anywhere else comedy records are sold and streamed, and you can listen to a clip of Simmermon defending real Southern food from the highfalutin meddling of unneeded interlopers in the video below.