Filed under: Reviews
I spent several years working on and hosting a podcast where I listened to comedy albums, so when I was asked to review Sally Brooks' upcoming album Street Bird, I was very excited.
Sally is a touring comic, writer, and podcaster. She was born in Cincinnati before moving to New York and finally settling in Atlanta. Street Bird (released October 12 by Helium Records) is her second album. Her first album, Brooks Was Here, was released in 2015 by Rooftop Comedy and debuted at the top of the iTunes comedy charts. In addition to touring and doing festivals around the U.S., she also co-hosts a popular podcast, Dumb Love, and has also done a residency at New York's PIT. In short, she's an incredibly talented, hard-working comedian, which is one of the reasons it was a delight to have her album land in my inbox.
Out of the gate, Sally hits the ground running, launching straight into her set. In a post-COVID world, there's going to be a couple of years of shared trauma that will need to be addressed, and Sally didn't linger addressing it in a funny way, using it to springboard into jokes that focus on her sharp wit. From there, we don't stop. A former lawyer, her writing is smart and insightful, wasting no words. Many comedians have a lot of fat that could be trimmed, or take you for a long walk to get from joke to joke, but with Sally it's a bounce from laugh to laugh with just the right measure of pause to let it sink in before getting into the meat of the next joke.
Being part of the over-forty brigade in comedy is hard. I know from personal experience -- it's a young person's sport, but with that age comes a perspective and insight that lends to all sorts of comedic opportunities. Topics like sex or money take on a whole different perspective when you're old enough to have to worry about retirement and the dynamics of marital sex lives.
Sally tackles this in a way that kept me in stitches. She leads the listener on a journey through relationships, sex lives, parenthood, and her life as a comedian, then ends with a message on how to live your life that -- while funny -- is also inspirational. And that's the magic of Sally's album. She speaks like a character in an Amy Sherman-Palladino production. She's fast, smart, and funny as all hell, but unlike characters in Gilmore Girls or some of the more unbelievable moments in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (both shows I love), it never feels forced. There is authenticity in every joke and kindness which permeates her work (the kind of kindness that points out how stupid something is, but it's none-the-less gentle).
We live in a tired and cynical world. It's easy to succumb to that energy and be bitter, preachy, or angry. Sally's album Street Bird is a refreshing breath of fresh air, avoiding those pitfalls while still having a message to brighten your day. It's a listen that I highly recommend for any fan of comedy.