“Everybody get your flashlight apps up and ready because shit’s about to get dark!”
Kelly Anneken is sour without the typical, sneaking saccharine. No finger guns, no wink, no nudge. She’s completely comfortable in making others less so with offbeat iconoclasm, sacrilegion, heartbreak, and other dense, rich, flavorful unsavoriness. Everything is a joke but she’s not joking. Twenty Minutes to Sell isn’t a false bill of goods, it’s Kelly Anneken’s lavishly daring debut.
It’s only twenty minutes! Take that in. Right in the title. Most comedy albums overstay their welcome, requiring your attention two or three times longer than Anneken’s offering. For real, who really wants to focus on anything for longer than…? (I couldn’t even get that sentence out without being distracted by my phone). Packed tight like dynamite, the recording gives a clear indication of a performer emergent.
Comedy’s never “done”. Will she regret not adding a tag here, expanding a bit there, rearranging the structure of a set? No! Kelly Anneken defies your definition of perfection. Yes, her album was recorded in a basement. Yes, her tracks have two to four subject changes. Yes, she’s been doing comedy for less than a decade (the universally presumed false prerequisite to unleash your opus). Yes there are pops and scratches, dips in audio and awkward transitions. You know what else it has? Kelly fucking Anneken.
Kelly Anneken is a talented writer and a confident performer. She has the misanthropic charisma of a teenager yelling through their door after a hard day of being misunderstood. A flurry of sarcastic hyperbole, followed by self deprecating bravado, followed by a shot fired at her Midwest upbringing dashed with her theater-tenured timbre. It’s all in service of her witty wordplay and pop culture paper mache. She might be uncouth but she’s efficient goddamnit! Rule of three! Bait and switch! Puns! Metaphors! Even if the subject is common, Kelly is not; she’s deftly able to spin a silly yarn on something conventional to make it deeply confessional. If you, the reader, decide to give it a go, stay until the end as Anneken delves into the subject of miscarriage in a truly inspired and nuanced way. It’s really great. And again, it’s only twenty minutes.