As I was sifting through the many CDs on my desk waiting to be reviewed – some of them calling out to me with abstract cubism art covers, others featuring four guys hanging out on a dilapidated train track – I felt immobilized.

I’m certainly not saying these CDs weren’t good quality products with talented people collaborating on a creative endeavor sure to please at least a small roomful of people on a Friday night in a Portland club. But for some reason, at that split second, my innards were screaming out for something with an edge to it.

I got lucky.

Enter Ian Stuart, a 26-year-old stand-up comedian from Portland who pretty much filled the bill with what I was hankering for (except for, well, the music part).

The catch is, there is a correlation between the art of making music and the art of making comedy. As I listened to Stuart’s 11-track digital album of stand-up, I was pleasantly surprised.

Stuart tossed around the gratuitous subjects of sex and drugs, which certainly could have dangerously delved into the “ad nauseam” category as far as jokes go. But he was able to deliver his message (using these age-old subjects) with quick and deliberate strokes of truth, then follow them up with uncanny timing and patience for the audience to catch up.

This, to me, is the mastery of such things. It is one notion to write a joke, just as it is to write a song on paper, but another to deliver it with confidence, emotion and timing. A comedian must walk the line of funny and perverse, and while Stuart does sometimes cross the line in political correctness (as in the track “Afghan Divorce Court”), he was able to get away with it in his framing of the joke and his quick retreat.

In any form of performance art, the person creating must be cautious of the ebb and flow of synaptic energy in order to bring on an emotionally charged release of joy or sorrow with the use of sarcastic irony or calculated bluntness.

The entertainer is the conduit of tempestuous pleasure and pain for our senses to experience, as this is our luxury in the state of our sometimes stagnant, stressful and ever-changing experience of just plain old existing here on this planet Earth.


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