“Oh boy, you guys are in for a real treat. I wish I could trade places with you and watch me tell these jokes. I’m going to knock it out of the park!” is how Joe Machi opened the first of two tapings for his upcoming album. It was in perfect keeping with Machi’s brand of awkward-yet-confident charm and it was also completely accurate. Machi knocked it out of the park and could have just skipped the second run and turned that first show into the album. Even the two jokes he wanted a shot at doing over (one just because of a flubbed word and the other a segue/tangent that sort of wandered off in the wrong direction) could have stayed in there and it would be a tremendous album.
Anyone who already knows Machi from Last Comic Standing or his sets around the city should still give this album a listen because it’s an even better, fuller picture of what Machi is capable of. Without the pressure to crush every single second of a brief fifteen minute set or any network censors, Machi presents an hour that takes his relatively short jokes both arranges them into larger coherent arcs and gives them a little room to expand. There are even a few moments where listeners may be a bit confused by the sudden huge burst of laughter or applause Machi elicits with a simple extra shrug or facial expression (that you obviously can’t see over iTunes). The time and space to stretch and construct also paints a much darker picture of Joe (in a good way). I’ve always described him as someone who “gets away” with “sneaking in” shockingly dark thoughts and references like specific details of Jeffrey Dahmer’s killing techniques or a series of anti-charity bits. But watching this hour, it felt like that flipped. It wasn’t so much a spoonful of sugar with the medicine hidden inside as a big dark cherry with a thin chocolate coating. That’s not the greatest metaphor, but you get what I’m throwing down.
Anyway, Machi anticipates the album being available mid-December so keep your eye out!