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Tony Bartolone

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Jim Hamilton's Poems About the Ocean

Posted: 08/09/2012 3:27 pm

ASpecialThing brings us quite a remarkable thing with Jim Hamilton. Hamilton's debut release, Poems About the Ocean, stretches the limits of absurdity in its unique rhythm and captivating style.

The thing that puts this album a place apart from other comedy recordings is the nuance in every pun, the calmness in every warped observation and the uncommon slant on every average thought. Above all, the material is simply stupid and funny. But the amount of artistry and intellect poured into the silly one-liners and absurd anti-humor is truly exceptional. Like a tightrope walker, the comedian's words carefully toe the line between completely ludicrous and grounded in reality. Jim Hamilton takes listeners tentatively down twisted roads as the tension in each well-crafted moment leads us to the punch.

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Jim Hamilton at Meltdown. Photo credit: Tyler Ross

Comedians are like magicians. Their entire job is to convince you there is no trick, no joke. Hamilton is incredibly proficient at concealing the formula while drawing the audience in. Then when you are just completely hypnotized, laughter hits. Tension is employed through the suspense of his deliberately paced delivery. Where is he going? What comes next? The suspense builds in every breath of word slowly slipping from between his lips. When the magician reveals the climax of his fantastic feat, the tension is released! The crowd awes in wonder. Or in the case of comedy, the crowd explodes into laughter (the equivalent of doves bursting into flight out of thin air).

Beyond the silliness, beyond the deft comedic craftsmanship, there is a man. There is a quiet everyman whom, while weird and ridiculous, is relatable. Themes of loneliness and alienation hang in the air. And after the laughter subsides, that human feeling is left swimming alone in your mind. Ironically, it is Jim Hamilton's self-deprecation that makes him likeable and his isolation that allows the audience to connect with him.

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Copyright: AST Records -- Cover art by Dave Kloc


While listening to Jim tell jokes, the image that comes to mind is that of a man sitting alone in traffic in his shitty car while the radio plays shitty music. The man heavily inhales as dust slightly glistens in the sunlit air. He exhales just as heavily and allows his mind to drift off somewhere. And in his imagination there is solace. And in that wonderful, little solace there are Jim Hamilton's jokes.

Desperately fighting the urge to quote one of his many great lines, I will instead tell you to do yourself a favor: Get a hold of Jim Hamilton's album. See him perform live. Follow him on twitter. Listen to a man's witty, witless thoughts on a world we all live in.

 

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