Off Hour Rockers / Oglio Records, 2000
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/18/2000
Back when I was a teenager, my father used to read these compilations of jokes published under the title Truly Tasteless Jokes. My father probably knew that I was swearing like a drunken sailor by that time, so he eventually let me read them so I would know what he was laughing his ass off about. And I, too, laughed... and tended to tell the wrong joke at the wrong time. (And I wonder why Princeton never returned my phone calls after that one incident.)
For Jackie Martling (best known as "The Joke Man," one of Howard Stern's faithful sidekicks), there is no wrong time to tell a tasteless joke - thank God. His latest CD, F. Jackie, takes 77 minutes of obscenity, filth and slander... and makes it pretty damned entertaining.
In a sense, Martling is a living Truly Tasteless Jokes book. He's able to put a voice behind the words someone would read, usually on a spotty photocopy that makes the rounds under the desks at the office, and demonstrates just how funny some of these lines can be - and you might be surprised at some of the gags you find yourself laughing at.
Oh, it's not that Martling is constantly on fire during this set at "The Comedy Palace" in Andover, Massachusetts. It feels like Martling needs a little time to get his motor running at the start of the show, spending his time ripping the audience (who eat up every single insult) before going into his "A" material. And I'd be lying if I said that everything in Martling's act this particular show had me rolling in the aisles - but then again, I'd tend to think that Martling realizes that everyone will react differently to each joke, and tries to structure his act to please everyone at least some of the time.
That all said, there are moments on F. Jackie, even after repeat listens, that still have me laughing out loud. Some of these moments are old Tasteless Jokes stand-bys (such as the Helen Keller material - I loved these jokes as a kid), some of them are modern-day (including a few jokes at the expense of President Clinton and his escapades a few years back), and some of them are good ol'-fashioned ethnic jokes that are incredibly non-P.C. today. Well, you know what? Fuck being politically correct. If you can't laugh at yourself (and Martling even includes some self-depracating humor to prove this) and each other's foibles, then you may as well be dead.
One thing which surprised me, though, was the age of some of the jokes. I gleamed one joke involving Superman and Batman and told it to my father - and he was able to tell me the punchline before I could get to it. (I should note that my father has never heard this CD - yet, since I know his taste in humor is as sick as mine - and isn't a regular listener to Stern's show.) Does this bother me? Not at all; I'm just surprised that if they've been around this long, I haven't heard them at some point. The people I hang around with have the same sense of humor I do - an admission which should worry my neighbors and lower the property value of my house.
Two words of advice, though. First, don't bother trying to follow the track names to figure out what these jokes will be about. Martling works on a stream of consciousness, which actually helps keep the material constantly fresh. Second, even though Martling humorously hints at it, this disc most definitely isn't for the kiddies... unless you live in a liberal household, in which case anything goes.
I actually thought I saw one or two of the Truly Tasteless Jokes books in a store a few weeks ago, but otherwise these things have become scarce in the age of political correctness. What Martling is effectively doing is keeping the irreverent spirit of these books alive with his stage show, trying to elicit some type of response from you. In general, my response to F. Jackie is this: keep 'em coming. I may not laugh at everything, but I like the cut of your jib.
2000 Christopher Thelen and "The Daily Vault". All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Off Hour Rockers / Oglio Records, and is used for informational purposes only.