Not that there’s a real traditional road to and through stand-up comedy these days, but Daniel Van Kirk’s road there has certainly been circuitous and he’s all the better for it. Thanks Diane, his debut comedy album, is the great summation of Van Kirk’s years of comedic excellence in playing characters (including one of the best Mark Wahlberg impressions around), podcasting (Pen Pals, Dumb People Town, Hindsight), and incredibly earnest storytelling.
This hour (derived from his Together Tour) is a magnificent, fully realized piece of postmodern comedy. As opposed to a stitched together hour of bits that make up several comedy specials/albums (including some very good ones), there’s a clear intentional thematic and formalistic arc on Thanks Diane that is very satisfying and unlike nearly everything we’ve listened to or seen in recent memory. Daniel does weave through stories and experiences in his life, as he is a spectacular storyteller, but he also has such a great feel for oscillating in front of and behind the fourth wall with the crowd. It’s an immersive, trenchant, and hysterical journey topped off with a touch of lovable chaos.