Friday, May 10, 2024

Archive Review: Paul Krassner's Brain Damage Control (1997)

Paul Krassner's Brain Damage Control
An American treasure, Paul Krassner is the subversive, irreverent publisher of The Realist, Yippie founder, 1960s icon, and long-standing champion of free speech. After close to half a century of intellectually tilting at windmills in the best Quixotic manner, what’s left for a madman to do? Taking a page from former pal Lenny Bruce’s playbook, Krassner has turned his satirical eye towards stand-up comedy, resulting in this second Mercury release, Brain Damage Control.

As a comedian, Krassner leans towards the 1950s-styled Bruce/Sahl school of social commentary, with bits like “Ebonics Lesson” and “Spin Doctors” taking aim at the hypocrisies of modern politics and society. Although humorous and topical, such observations are ultimately dated, losing their punch as they age. Krassner is at his best when telling stories of his illustrious past, such as with “Conspiracy Trial” and “Larry Flynt,” or while sharing the difficulties of parenthood in “Teenage Daughter.”

Brain Damage Control is a fine introduction to Krassner’s unique sense of humor for the uninitiated, perhaps leading the laughing listener to subsequently search for one of Krassner’s books or copies of The Realist. In a popular culture run amok, nobody has skewered more sacred cows than Krassner – have a hamburger and entertain yourself with some Brain Damage Control. (Mercury Records, 1997)

Review originally published by Thora-Zine, Austin TX, 1997

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