STAND-UP TUESDAYS: Mike Baldwin

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We have been saying it for weeks, but Under The Gun Review is undergoing an evolution of sorts and part of this change involves the unveiling of many new, recurring features. Today we are continuing the debut one of our most anticipated features, a weekly comedy spotlight written by the wonderfully talented Angie Frissore. Covering both known and unknown comics, Stand-up Tuesdays is your new source for all things funny.

This week, we are putting a spotlight on Mike Baldwin and her latest special, Bees Can Taste With Their FeetIf you or your comedy troupe would like to be featured on Stand-Up Tuesdays, please email utgjames@gmail.com.

Finding yourself compared to the likes of Andy Kaufman, Mitch Hedberg and Steven Wright when it comes to stand-up comedy would be enough to put a world of pressure on the most seasoned of comics. But Kansas City’s Mike Baldwin is handling it just fine.  The twice-named Funniest Person in Kansas City released his first full-length CD, Bees Can Taste With Their Feet, in March 2011, and it’s quickly become an iTunes favorite.

Having only listened to the CD, and not having the luxury of actually seeing Baldwin perform, it took a few minutes into the album before I got a good feel of whether or not he’d have me laughing – he takes the stage with a slightly ambiguous stoner-tone to him, leaving the audience wondering what’s in store for his set. There’s no high-energy entrance, no major attempt to rile his crowd up – but it soon becomes clear that Baldwin just doesn’t need to.

Baldwin’s stories are stealthily well-crafted, to the point where you could easily forget being in a comedy club and instead feel as if Baldwin is sharing a drink with you at the bar, recounting tales from his past.  There’s a comfortable sort of kinship he creates that makes me want to invite Baldwin to all of my parties and outings simply for entertainment value.

From the very start of his set, Baldwin has his audience in stitches with his almost overly-simple observations: “If you’re a ninja, you probably love the spring and hate the fall, ‘cause there’s crunchy leaves.”

It’s this kind of pothead-observational humor that keeps you on your toes while listening to Baldwin.  As he weaves his way through one line of humor, by the time you’ve caught your breath from laughing so hard he’s somehow ended up at a completely unexpected punch line.

In one track, Baldwin describes his condiment invention – a combination of ketchup and mustard, in one bottle – called Must Up – before laying down the hilarious concept of advertising for the product.

“There’s a guy sitting there, and he’s squirting some onto his burger – and then his friend walks in and says, ‘Woah, that’s mussed up!’”

Baldwin’s jokes range from penis comparisons among his guy friends to the obligatory line of pot jokes (one look at Baldwin and that is to be expected), all of which is done so masterfully that Baldwin’s comedy really stands out from the abundance of pot humor that’s out there today.

It’s also refreshing to find myself laughing my derriere off to a comic that, prior to listening to Bees, I had never been exposed to. Baldwin isn’t shoved down our collective comedy-fan throats – and, hailing from Missouri, possesses that small-town comic feel that just seems to make it that much funnier. As stand-up comedy explodes throughout the country’s heartland in cities like Nashville and Kansas City, it’s awesome to see the little guys getting a chance.

Bees Can Taste With Their Feet is a delightfully hilarious forty minutes that is definitely worth the measly $9.99 on iTunes, so be sure to pick up your copy today – and keep your eyes and ears peeled as you’re sure to hear more about Mike Baldwin in the coming years.

Written by: Angie Frissore

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