Through his work on “The Daily Show,” Matt Koff has proved his strength as a writer in the comedy world. Following his Emmy victory, Koff has finally released his own debut comedy album, Who’s My Little Guy?
The rise of “The Daily Show” in popularity is largely attributed to the way it comically tackles relevant events and topics facing modern day American society. The satirical humor found in “The Daily Show” is something that threads its way through Koff’s debut album, an element that strengthens his set immensely.
However, a lot of Koff’s material, while funny, wasn’t paced in a very coherent way. While there were some high points, there were many spots where his bits felt flat, lacking the depth and substance he provides in other parts of his set. His writing on “The Daily Show” has purpose: It leaves audiences to contend with hot takes in politics and world events. The album lacks this element, making it not as current and relevant as his other work. While his album gives viewers a few chuckles, a lot of the material did not necessarily stand out, simply making it mediocre for a debut album.
Koff begins his album with lots of strength and immense confidence. His bold and sarcastic stage presence, coupled with his booming voice and exuberant personality, is extremely enticing and contagious for listeners. It’s hard to get distracted when listening to Koff exclaim, “Are we gonna give guns to substitute teachers? Because those people have nothing to live for!”
Koff’s dark humor is another high point of this album. He is very comfortable with material that pushes boundaries, keeping audience members on their toes, especially at the beginning and end of his set. Whether he’s describing the shenanigans of being a Jewish boy in elementary school or his experience coming up with dark questions for “The Newlywed Game,” Koff is aware of the tone he is presenting. His tone is very consistent throughout the album, establishing his personal style as a stand-up comedian from the very first track. While Koff’s style is not for everyone, his confidence in the type of material he’s presenting is very impressive and makes his material enjoyable and easy to listen to.
His comedic timing is also impressive, especially considering this is his debut album. Koff’s experience with comedy makes him very adaptive to his audience — he understands how to present material in a way that doesn’t feel unnatural or forced.
His personal anecdotes and themes of Jewish identity weave their way throughout the album and provide a lot of personal elements that heighten the raw nature of his set. Koff shines when he is discussing personal experiences, something he obviously puts a lot of heart into when writing and performing.
But the biggest problem with the album is its progression. Koff starts out strong, setting up his audience with an opening that feels deeply personal to his identity as a comedian. However, his material drags a bit toward the middle, lacking the substance and originality he provides in other parts of his set. On the third track of the album, Koff describes boring conversations from working in an office. While he still manages to make this material funny, it feels derivative at times, simply aiming to make audiences feel like they can relate to basic scenarios he presents for expectant laughs.
Though this certainly isn’t the best comedy album of the year, it does display Koff’s command of his field. Koff has a lot of personality and his best material displays this. He truly is at his best when he’s pushing the envelope and taking risks in his set, something he will hopefully continue to do in the future.
Despite its faults, Who’s My Little Guy? proves Koff’s talent and potential as both a writer and performer. Whether one listens to this album at home, on BART or walking around Berkeley, it is sure to garner at least a few giggles, ultimately making it worth a listen.