The night narrowly avoided calamity; Kelly was pulled over by an officer of the law en route to the show. Luckily the officer only issued a warning. “Wow, I learned something… I’m really pretty!” declares the sprightly comedian. Thus sets the tone for I’d Eat Them Both, a stand-up comedy album from Kelly McCarron, recorded live at the historic Purple Onion in San Francisco.
It’s important to note McCarron’s appearance: fair skin, medium height, curvaceous and fashinionable twentysomthing with an angelic visage, ruby red hair and beguiling blue eyes. The performance requires a clear mental landmark to understand and appreciate the comedian’s tone and direction.
“…I don’t base my jokes on facts, I base them on feelings…”
I’d Eat Them Both is innately intricate as McCarron personifies and parodies modern feminine youth culture: vapid shallowness, determined delusion, catty power dynamics. It’s difficult to determine observation from opinion or demonization from self-deprecation. McCarron walks the fine, blurred line to a compelling affect, issuing sweet sarcasm that never tarnishes the performer’s charm. Charm drives jokes about body image (“I’ve never worked so hard in my life to be ‘overweight’”), therapy (“‘Did you have a bad feeling today sweetheart? Well let’s get you a hamburger’”) and dating (“‘Please don’t pee on me,’ which is something I never thought I’d have to say as an adult”).
McCarron’s star shines brightest when she sings, when voice takes leave to bygone affectations. “My Dream”, a glamorous display of versatile mimicry, declares and depicts McCarron’s desire for mundane musical numbers. “Guy at the Bar”, the album’s finale, features flapperesque gabbing illustrating superb writing and histrionics.
The album travels well-paved roads (Maury Povich, advertisement jingles) and provides cartoonish follies (cupcake hubris) whilst retaining a strict attention to polish, structure and sincerity. Still, I’d Eat Them Both runs a bit short, and the compelling, personal material leaves hunger for further elaboration. Kelly McCarron doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but frankly, wheels aren’t very funny.