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Review-Don't Shake Your Miracle

Filed Under , on January 22nd, 2020

Review: Don’t Shake Your Miracle

By The Family Farce

Ben Rosenfeld brought many talents with him when he emigrated from Russia to the United States as a boy. One of those was a talent for academics. Ben was once accepted into a PhD program, but he had the good sense to give up the unstable career of academia for the solid financial underpinning of a comic’s life. Monologuing from his fourth stand-up album, Don’t Shake Your Miracle, to be released by Comedy Dynamics on February 7, 2020, Ben said, “I was smart enough to get into a PhD program at Caltech, yet dumb enough to quit to focus on comedy.”

Ben is known for his intellectual style of joke engineering. We interpret his “smart enough” line as humility, dipped in realism, encased in self-deprecation, and candy-coated in still more humility for the masses to easily consume. Translation: Ben can communicate his superior intelligence, mock you, bring your political and social and relational discomforts right to the surface, and become your friend, all in the space of a few lines of setup and payoff.

As his time on the New York City comedy scene has expanded, so has the breadth and depth of his material. In Don’t Shake Your Miracle, he still pulls from his deep well of Russian one-liners:

–On how Russians answer their Poison Control line, “‘Oh, no. You’re still alive? Thank you for reporting product defect.’”

–On his dad’s assessment of Ben’s lack of fitness, as a child, for the Russian Army, “‘He can’t even pedal tricycle. He’ll never be able to wipe out whole village.’”

–On the preferred college major for comrades: “In Russian universities, the easiest major is always political science, because the answer to any question is: you poison them.”

But just as Ben grew out of the boyish notion that earning a PhD was a better career option than stand-up, he has also found ways to be darkly funny in a this-is-my-life-now-so-cry-with-me sense as opposed to relying solely on an I’m-Russian-so-cry-with-me sense.

The dark, Russian influence is still there in this album, as it should be, a shroud of joke bits woven into a heavy cloak of black comedy that simultaneously weighs you down and gives you hope. This is Ben’s hallmark trait, something to which only he (and a handful of levity-minded Gulag prisoners who didn’t make it across the border in time) can lay claim. Speaking as the voice of his former compatriates who must use their fingernails to scrape their joke ideas onto prison walls, Ben, in this album, represents well the Motherland, the Land of Opportunity, and poison.

Choice bits:

1. On the true meaning of the term anchor baby: “My daughter … she’s actually an anchor baby, not because I don’t have citizenship. No, but because she’s weighing us down financially.”

2. On studies showing that having your first baby can make you more depressed than unemployment, divorce, and the death of a spouse: “You know how you’re supposed to baby-proof the home by covering electrical sockets, closing bleach bottles, and hiding sharp objects? Turns out, it’s for you.”

3. On the shallowness of our culture that lets pretty people get away with crimes: “If Hilary Clinton looked like Scarlett Johansson, no one would give a damn about her emails.”

4. On infanticide with parenting perspective: “When I hear those stories where a baby won’t stop crying and the mom loses her shit and drives her car into a lake, I can’t imagine why that’s so rare.”

5. On being unsure about being a parent: “My wife and I, we’re thinking of becoming parents, because we have a one-year-old, so … we should probably make a final decision soon, before the baby forms memories.”

6. On his daughter laughing, crying, screaming, throwing up, and falling asleep within a two-minute timespan: “No wonder she’s so tired. For some young women in their early 20s, that’s a full Friday night.” Then running through glee, sadness, anger, and nauseation in about three seconds: “‘Ha, ha, ha! Ahwoo, hoo, hoo! Why, Becky, why? Bleeeh!’” Forcing us to use onomatopoeia in a review. Hats off to you, Ben.

7. On misunderstanding his wife’s intentions for waking him up at night: “‘Are you up? Are you ready?’ I’m like, ‘I’m so ready.’ ‘Good, go check on the baby.’”

8. On attempting various methods to teach his dad safety precautions, like not surrounding a baby with pillows, when his dad watches Ben’s daughter, and his dad failing to retain any knowledge: “My dad just won’t listen to me, so the only thing left to do is poison him.”

9. On memory aids to keep track of his daughter: “Now I keep my cellphone around my daughter’s neck, ’cause that way I won’t forget her in a hot car.”

10. On the high price point of top-end strollers and quoting a single friend who won’t be watching his daughter: “‘Why don’t you just get a cheap stroller and an expensive helmet?’”

Multiculturalism began its ascent in the public school system some time ago. By his choice of content, we believe that Ben is in favor of combining cultures and appreciating the unique elements and perspective-widening benefits that each cultural representative can bring. If you’re looking for a playdate that is economical on stroller integrity, considers car-assisted lake-diving an option to achieve peace and quiet, and adds poison to the list of condiments, we hear Ben is organizing something in Central Park.

Who: Ben Rosenfeld
Occupation: Comic
Location: New York City, NY
Album: Don’t Shake Your Miracle
Sneak Peek: Preview
Markets: iTunes (pre-order), Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, Pandora, SoundCloud
Availability: February 7, 2020
Price: $9.99


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The Family Farce

About: The Family Farce
The mission of The Family Farce is to entertain through the production and distribution of snarky, irreverent, dark family-themed humor content. We produce and distribute said content from writers, stand-up comics, visual artists, and musicians in the following areas: Words–essays, interviews, fiction, columns; Music–parodies and original parental-advisory-esque works; Video–shorts, interviews, original stand-up; Art–comic strips, info graphics, photos, illustrations.

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