Review of the 4th and Latest CD from Ben Rosenfeld: “Don’t Shake Your Miracle”

Listening to NYC-based comedian and author Ben Rosenfeld’s darkly delightful 4th and latest CD, “Don’t Shake Your Miracle,” you can hear the appreciative audience both shaken and stirred with continuously clever cocktails of dry wit. Ben dishes 71 minutes of salty, fresh prose, which makes extra sense when you learn he was performing in a club over a sushi joint in Manhattan.

As a Jewish and Russian immigrant who’s been fairly Americanized (USA! USA!), Ben Rosenfeld offers a well–rounded yet sardonic view of society. A self–proclaimed nerd and former PhD candidate at Caltech who ditched that project for standup comedy, Ben often serves us bona fide, useful facts, then takes us on a journey through absurdly sick premises and sharp punchlines. The delivery of Ben’s latest seemingly extemporaneous but tightly written long-form set is more polished than ever. (“Don’t Shake Your Miracle” is Ben’s 4th recorded album, with his 3rd, “The United States of Russia,“ achieving #1 best-selling album in comedy on iTunes, and his 2nd album, “Russian Optimism,” reaching top 5 status in comedy on Amazon.)

On “Don’t Shake Your Miracle,” Ben arcs through relatable topics, infusing them with his characteristically twisted points of view, such as an astoundingly fleshedout comparison of autism to alcoholism. It’s gonna remind you of some people…but, no names mentioned, of course! Yet through it all, new dad Ben Rosenfeld (his daughter is one year old) maintains a vibe of stable cheeriness that makes you actually want to hear him expound on things like safe teabagging,” or the alternative approaches of Poison Control centers in Russia. In fact, Ben’s got a running poison joke throughout the album that is, shall we say, killer.

At one point during the showBen offers a choice between “dark or Disney” humor, and the audience wisely chooses dark. The bits are always clever, and sometimes push one or more boundaries hard, blowing through a couple; Ben jumps on a few chances to chide the audience and riff on some of their reactions to great comic effect.

Ben’s wife is also a comic, and this primes the subtext of his jokes about marriage. The topics throughout “Don’t Shake Your Miracle include original spins on universal experiences such as interacting with uber drivers, gender reveal vs. sex parties, and the compulsion to make hokey dad jokes. We get his immigrant perspective when he spews Russian phrases uttered by his parents as they repeatedly ingrained the perfect blueprint in Ben to become a standup comedian and maybe an astrophysicist.

There were dozens of LOL moments during Ben Rosenfeld’s “Don’t Shake Your Miracle, and the setups are carefully crafted so that you’re focusing on every syllable as each premise builds to a flurry of punchlines. One of my favorite LOL moments was Ben’s comparison of babies to heroin addicts, which seemed affably accurate, offering up a sickly fun juxtaposition of images. Next time you see a baby nodding off and emptying their bowels in their pants, resist the urge to shake it, and instead, go and listen to “Don’t Shake Your Miracle”, the latest comedy CD by Ben Rosenfeld!

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“Don’t Shake Your Miracle” by Ben Rosenfeld, recorded live at The PIT Loft (People’s Improv Theater) in NYC; release date is Friday, February 7, AVAILABLE FOR PRE-SALE NOW AT: https://music.apple.com/us/album/dont-shake-your-miracle/1494408235

For Ben Rosenfeld’s other albums and best-selling comedy book, visit the Official Website of Ben Rosenfeld.

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The difference between hitting a deer in New England versus hitting a deer in New Jersey

Haven’t we all hit a deer? I’ve hit two. Or more accurately, they hit me!

In New England, after you hit a deer, you calmly pull over to the side of the road, phone the police, and wait for them to come and write up a report so you can submit it to your insurance. Friendly motorists will stop to offer help and wait with you. They will have apple fritters. A team is immediately dispatched to track the mortally injured deer and put it out of its misery, should it still be alive, or collect its body from the side of the road, if it has already expired. Venison will be shared, and the death of a beautiful animal will not be for naught. If you are in the great state of Maine, you’ll be offered a hunting license on the spot, and get to take home a year’s worth of meat.

In New Jersey, after you hit a deer, you simply re-join the traffic jam on the Turnpike. “What exit? I don’t know, but that fur on my grill reminds me I lost my scarf.” So you go straight to Costco, because you also needed berries. Then you drive home, put the damaged car in the garage, and call the authorities in the morning, because in New Jersey, public officials are helpful as long as nothing ends up in a swamp. To your major dismay, though, you’ll have to get used to the look of the dead deer in the median of State Route 18 for at least two weeks, because no one in New Jersey presently has any decent roadkill recipes. You secretly wish the thing had ended up in some swamp making brackish venison stew for the ecosystem.

Whether you are in New England or New Jersey, the New or Old world, passing deer or llamas, drive defensively!

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Ah, Ya Mutha! Book Review of “Mean Mommy” by Actress, Comic and Author Kerri Louise

My menopausal brain is now extremely choosy about what books it subjects itself to, and I knew right off the bat that “Mean Mommy” by actress, comic and author Kerri Louise was a good investment for whatever brain cells I had not yet sweated away.

“Mean Mommy” is a very entertaining, enlightening and helpful book about the hardest job in the world. I found it enormously relatable as a human being, a mother, and a stand-up comic, three groups that are beginning to overlap more and more in our society.

I recently had the pleasure of performing in a show Kerri Louise headlined at a comedy club in Massachusetts, and afterwards, I got an autographed copy of “Mean Mommy.” On the way to Kerri’s minivan to grab the book, we encountered a woman laying on her back who appeared to be under the effects of too much alcohol. She didn’t know where she was and kept telling us to go away. We then realized she had been in the audience for the comedy show, and had been heckling us. Despite that, Kerri and I expressed our concern for the poor lady, saying we didn’t want her to choke on her puke like Jimi Hendrix. We flagged security and got the woman on the road to group therapy and possible incarceration, a great example of how Kerri Louise and I are never not walking the walk as optimal human beings, mothering types, and stand-up comics. We were Mean Mommies in action!

Anyway, back to the book: its candor is bracing and hilarious. From oversights that “impacted” travel plans, to the prodigious barfing skills of one of her three sons, Kerri invites us into the privacy and hilarity of her loving and wacked fam. A great deal of the book echoes what I heard Kerri say in her stand-up, so that for me, having just watched her perform, “Mean Mommy’s” written passages were infused with that much more meaning.  

 

Reading Kerri’s book made me feel better about several “mothering” things. Discipline, role modeling and the commitment to prettier legs are three examples.

 

Depending on where you live in the country (or within your state, even), there are differing views on smacking your kid when they do something wrong, or to protect them from danger. “Mean Mommy” made me feel ok about the few times I did that to MY kid. (He deserved it! And once my son became large enough to hurt me back, that actually encouraged me more in the area of corporal punishment, since he was able to defend himself. KIDDING! Subtle satire is often missed these days, so I felt the need to clarify that. It is very true, though, that I’m still a big fan of those bumper stickers that say “The beatings will continue until morale improves!”)

“Mean Mommy” allows mothers, and any reader, really, to visualize a pragmatic way to conduct themselves. No expectations of perfection are pitched, but MM expects everyone to try their hardest and learn from their mistakes. This is the role modeling message I picked up from the book, and it’s effectively aimed at both parents and offspring.

 

The allusion to prettier legs is my spin on the important message “Mean Mommy” imparts about “mommy self-care.” Kerri reminds us that it’s not only ok, but necessary for mommies to feel attractive, and sometimes great measures are needed to attain that. Get that tummy tuck (like Kerri)! Do the varicose vein surgery (like me)! Your husband might be a total slacker in helping when you need it most (see the chapter on husband bashing, p. 95), but it is still so worth it in order to avoid being asked “when’s the baby due?”, or why you made your legs look like Clint Eastwood’s ulcerated, veiny gams (he’s got a big problem and really should see a vascular specialist. See? MM has me trying to mother Dirty Harry. That’s MEAN!!).

The lineup at CBS Comedy Scene in Foxboro MA August 3: (L to R) comics Ryan Ellington, Kindra Lansburg, Kerri Louise, Chris Tabb and myself

In “Mean Mommy,” Kerri Louise tells uproarious tales from her life, including an incredible encounter with bedbugs, escapades with her husband and fellow famous comic Tom Cotter, plus a new way to think about cutting a pineapple. (Talk about rolling out a “welcome” mat. Read the book and you’ll get my insinuation!)

“Mean Mommy” is a great read with content that’s both mirthful and purposeful. I hope Kerri Louise writes a sequel, and titles it “Mean Mommies.2: Still Taking Care of You Motherf*ckers”, aimed at an audience that could conceivably include nasty hecklers saved from dying in a pool of their own vomit, and maybe even Clint Eastwood. MM is for everyone! “Mean Mommy”, don’t forsake us: please dispense another batch of funny wisdom someday soon.

“Mean Mommy” by Kerri Louise is available at Amazon Books by clicking here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0989538184/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_N.uyDb31SCJKK

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Cinquain Poetry in Nature

I have somehow managed to keep a book of poetry I made “from scratch” for my ninth grade English class. I took all the pictures in and around Manchester CT almost 50 years ago. My favorite picture is the one of the tiger kitty. 🐈

And yes, I am aware that “poetry” is misspelled on the cover. Even the teacher didn’t catch that, and it was honors English!

I just managed to remember the name of the teacher: Mr. Marquis. He was really good, and I have wonderful memories of that class, albeit very faint.

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Life on the side

Always spent my life waiting to live. Watching others live. Thinking: that’s not for me! Too risky.

Some people never feel fully grown up until both of their parents are gone. They did not want to grow up that way, but it’s unavoidable. Life is the great waiting room outside of death.

You can think this way until your midlife and then suddenly have a change of heart. You wonder who you even are. And you decide to try life on for size. Take it off the side burner.

You smile vigorously for the camera. You start doing the thing most people supposedly fear worse than death: public speaking. You decide to travel to the comedy epicenter of the world and take a class. You become a stand-up. You experience both great power and vulnerability.

You learn the only way to feel fully alive is to allow yourself to simultaneously feel happiness with the fear and sadness of the constant loss of life.

Photo credits:

Dick Williams (top)

Rodney Norman (bottom)

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Mom’s oral tradition

My mother said when I was young,

“There’s power in the female tongue.

It’s essential,” she said, “to hold back,

otherwise folks feel under attack.

But use your piehole when you must.

If it doesn’t work, employ your bust.”

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Monopolies further entrench themselves in society and my subconscious

After reading that Amazon acquired Whole Foods, I had a dream that I was involved in a promotion that was shot in our local store. Jeff Bezos was part of it, and I played a ditzy housewife that kept bumping my cart into him. I did it a few extra times “accidentally” out of a form of passive aggression, and Jeff did not look upon this with much favor.

After everyone left, I walked out to my car, saw Jeff leaning on it, looked around, and found myself alone with him. He confronted me: “I know you rammed that shopping cart into my Achilles’ heel a few extra times just to be mean.”

Feeling nervous and buying time for myself, I crossed my arms and rubbed my shoulders, pressing down hard on the right one with my left index finger.

I replied, “Mr. Bezos, I have a state of the art recording device embedded in my right rear deltoid. I just activated it by pressing my shoulder. I can even play back what you just said right now…but, it will come out my right armpit. And, as soon as I do this [grabbing butt cheek with my left hand], the soundfile gets uploaded to the Cloud. So, go ahead and hurt me if you like, but the evidence is already out there.”

[Smiling and touching my right shoulder:]

“By the way, I found this device on Amazon Prime.”

I got in my car and drove away.

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My heart will swim on

A clear path for the heart warrants the breast stroke.

When unsure, it treads water, or floats.

A rare few inspire the butterfly.

It’s not fond of that “sinking feeling,” and sometimes, must simply crawl to get by.

It wisely does the back stroke out of dangerous situations.

The heart is a strong swimmer, and it will not be drowned by any force of nature.

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Are you a wart hog or a wart hoarder? Big dif 

Meanwhile, whatever happened to good old-fashioned ass-grabbing?
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“High Energy, Low Caliber: The Donald Trump Story” and “Dumber Than W” are two possible titles I’ve got for a book I’m working on about our current president.

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I’m uncomfortable when I feel envy coming from another person, unless they are an asshole.

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I’ve never been June Cleaver but I’ve often felt like I had a Warden.


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In an effort to be more G-rated, I’m going to start telling people to go poke themselves.

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In addition to hearing a bedtime story in the Oval Office, a cup of warm Ovaltine would immensely benefit the Dealer of the Free World.

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However, Kathy Griffin’s stunt insulting the president was abhorrent. Even Squatty Potty dumped her as a rep for their merchandise. And here you thought they wouldn’t give a shit.

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IBS = Irritable Bowel Syndrome = I’ve Been Shitting

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Wickerleaks: because incontinence on rattan furniture is more common than you think.

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With Greg Allman gone, women have come forward to admit they played his organ. What, Hammond it up too soon?


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It seems encouraging when you witness political opposites reaching across the aisle, until you realize it’s a mutual handjob being done to continue the subterfuge. That’s right, not even trying for a joke on this one.

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Gray is actually considered a calming color, unless it is seen in pubic hair.

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Some beyotch told me she hated clichés so I told her to live and let live.

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They say it’s important to never judge another person until you get the whole story. This is why it’s important for you to get the whole story.

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Mother’s Day is the day you find out on social media whose moms are still alive.

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I had a great Mother’s Day…on social media. 😓 #canthaveitall


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Strike a pious pose

Low libido runs in my family. I’m not quite sure how I even HAVE a family.

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Never once as a child did I ever say I wanted to grow up and own a mansion, because I already knew the amount of chores that had to be avoided in an average-to-small sized home.

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The new “imagine everyone in their underwear” is now “imagine how big their hemorrhoids are,” because nowadays many people look excellent in underwear.

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It’s fun to watch snobby, single, attractive 30-something people look confused at a party with a bunch of average-looking middle-aged married couples who are inexplicably flirting with one another.

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I wish I knew a government bigwig. I would steer tax dollars to comedy. Officially.

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I have begun to hate NPR since half the stories aired now seem to be about either urban vertical farming or charismatic basketball players. #NPukeR

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Seems strange to say but some people have dexterous eyes.


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That awkward moment in the memory care facility when you’re badmouthing your friend and realize you’re talking to them.

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I wouldn’t mind a long distance relationship as long as the parking was free.

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My friend told me I needed sex and I said I was saving myself for divorce.

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I wonder if the dog is considered man’s best friend because he is occasionally willing to eat feces.

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K-Mart may have Blue Light Specials, but Stein Mart has Eternal Light Specials.


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Students are now starting to show up at colleges with serving trays and other items made from corks. #LeadRetailerNameIsMyMomsAWino

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The next time someone at a party says, “You should be an actress,” a good reply is: “I already am. I’ve been lying to you for the last half hour.”

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Took a BuzzFeed quiz to find out what type of introvert I was. Would it be Artist… Healer… Champion? Painstakingly answered 25 questions, waited for my results, and all I got was a video ad titled “Naughty Girls.” #QuestionAnswered

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Please don’t post articles on social media about feminism if your daughter recently declared she was a “they.”

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There are probably men who don’t mind being around longwinded women, but I don’t know any of them.

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If only I’d known in third grade there was no need to start dumbing down my language, as long as I continued to cuss.

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The best writers will read what they have written first in their own voice, next in what they perceive the reader’s voice to be, and then finally in their mother’s voice.

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