THE BLOG
10/22/2012 03:41 pm ET Updated Dec 22, 2012

Paul F. Tompkins: Laboring Under Delusions: Live in Brooklyn

If you liked Paul F. Tompkins' recent Comedy Central special and DVD, you need to get a copy of the comprehensive Laboring Under Delusions: Live in Brooklyn. This CD version is an unedited ninety-three minutes of stories that achieves an airy feeling of live performance. Paul F. Tompkins' comedy is genuinely inspired and rooted in relatable, true-to-life moments. His comedic voice is a rare delicacy in a world of fast food comedy.

Starting with Tompkins' brief college career, the performance takes us through his struggles with money, people and comedy through the common theme of jobs held. Ripe with sarcasm and insight, Live in Brooklyn excites some of the biggest, deep-belly laughs of reason memory. PFT showcases his complete command of language and his uncanny ability to manipulate life experiences into priceless comedy bits, while impressively concealing the labor in every line. The job of a comic is to work hard on every second of the show and then wipe all the work away creating the illusion of a casual conversation. Further more, great standups make the audience believe they were an equal part of that conversation (because they are, in a sense).

2012-10-22-PaulFTompkinscover.jpg
AST Records, Photo credit: Liezl Estipona

From working in retail to playing small parts in high profile films, Tompkins delivers an easygoing, engaging rhythm skillfully punctuated by cutting exclamations. The evolution of Paul F. Tompkins sees him turning his acute commentary on the world more toward himself in recent work. In this autobiographical effort, he effortlessly makes something as abstruse as meeting Tom Cruise as relatable as traffic or doctor visits. A comedian must be capable in bringing the audience with them like that charming friend you can never say no to. PFT is an absolute master of baiting the audience, beat for beat (making it hard not to listen to his entire CD in one sitting). Comedy can be defined as an economy of words. Therefor it is ever the more impressive when somebody artfully employs a variety of verbiage without pretension. While it seems as though his style could easily isolate an audience, it actually does the opposite and sets listeners at ease.

Some moments of Live in Brooklyn are pure truth embedded in the human experience. Tompkins discloses an anecdote about stealing from a video store where he once worked and justifying his reasons for theft. A mix of bitter sorrow and twisted logic makes it easy to justify almost any action. This speaks to a uniquely human condition as well as Tompkins' capacity to express his astute observations. The most memorable and affecting comedy is that of which a person can identify with. These embarrassing confessions stay with people. This album is a perfect pearl.