Baron Dave Romm (barondave) wrote,
Baron Dave Romm
barondave

Comedy of Doom: A review

Claimer; I contributed to the Kickstarter program that helped Comedy of Doom get published, and heard several of the essays in live performance. I've watched Joe perform for a long time, and have interviewed him and his parents for Shockwave Radio Theater.

Comedy of Doom is scads of fun. I expected to have a scad of fun, maybe even a scad-and-a-half, since Joe's been on a roll recently. But I had scads. I lost track of how many.

Joseph Scrimshaw, live, comes off like Frank Gorshin as a perpetually petulant Kirk Douglas. (Feel free to Google any Geek Topics you don't recognize.) His controlled reading style masks a deep sense of theater and an ever-inquisitive mind. It probably helps to hear Scrimshaw as you read him. Not necessary, but useful. I recommend going to one of his performances even if you don't buy the book, but I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader.

The book chapters alternate between longer essays, from his shows, and shorter bits, little slip-on-a-banana-peel gags. Here, let me give you an example of the latter:

THINKING OUTSIDE THE BRAIN
"There's a lot of meat in team." -- Zombie motivational saying.

There, that's the entire chapter, minus footnotes. The whole thing. I probably should have issued a spoiler warning, but forgot. Sorry.

As is often the case with Joseph Scrimshaw, a little leads to a lot. Really makes you wonder: How much movitation do you need to be a zombie?

Responsible adult zombie: "Braiiiiins."
Teenage girl zombie: "Whatever."

Do zombies have teams? What's their logo? Do they have leagues and announcers and playoffs? Can the coach put a zombie on Injured Reserve? Do they do ads for Sports Brain Drink and sell products by surrounding themselves with beautiful undead women? Do they have hoax zombie girlfriends and take illegal embalming fluid to pump up their bodies? Does the team with the most movitivation win meat?

Wow.

The mind boggles, and that's just one sentence. Joe never keeps things boggled up. (<-- wordplay. You're welcome.)

I laughed out loud at For Your Expense Report Only, but I'm a sucker for tales of bureaucracy behind world saving secret agents. Joe has an obsession with Star Wars, Superheros, the Zombie Apocalypse, Word Porn, and The Muppets, among many other geek topics. Seems reasonable.

The book is meticulously put together by people who understand that books are different than social media. I like that. One can dip in and actually turn the pages; no hyperlinks here. Various bits of information and humor are scattered before and after the essays proper. I like that too.

I have a few complaints. Quibbles, really. Nitpicks. The index of Geek Topics doesn't include page references. Sorry, not geeky enough. And my name isn't mentioned often enough. In fact, it's only mentioned once, in the Hall of Gratitude listing of Kickstarter contributors. Some, perhaps most, would say this is sufficient mention, if not too much, for a book that I had absolutely no creative input into. Hey, discuss what you like in your own review. How many times should I be mentioned? I leave that as an exercise for the writer.

To conclude, let me finish by ending. I highly recommend Comedy of Doom for anyone who has enjoyed Joeseph Scrimshaw's work over the years, and still recommend it if you haven't. Written comedy is a different art form than spoken comedy, but Joseph has mud on his boots from both worlds.

Geek Topics Covered: Geek Topics, Comedy of Doom, Shockwave Radio Theater, Frank Gorshin, Google, teenage zombie angst, write your own damn review.
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