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 wellrounded yet sardonic view of society. A selfproclaimed 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 show, Ben 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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Surgical Strike Tsunami ™

Are you superstitious? Do you feel bad when you actively wish others dead? Well, worry no more about your negative thoughts, because now there’s “Surgical Strike Tsunami”, a customized, animated short video series that whimsically helps you mentally exorcise the assholes from your life. 

You and our team of writers create the story based on what the asshole in your life has done. Then (in our fantasy animated story), a powerful individual wave comes far inland from the ocean, sweeps the jerk out to sea, and drowns him or her outside of your vision. It was not your fault! It was an act of God! God giveth assholes, and He also taketh them away. Remember, your most unfavorite person could conceivably be swept away by a “Surgical Strike Tsunami”, and that’s why we’ve created this series: to help people realize that assholes are not always permanent. Just ask anybody with a colostomy bag.

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Joanna Rapoza’s Upcoming Comedy Spots

🌲Saturday, 10.5.19: Back working with the excellent Mark Turcotte and Maine Event Comedy! This is an 8pm show at Island Dog Brewing, 125 John Roberts Rd., Unit 15, South Portland, Maine. Doors open …all day. Headlined by Brian Brinegar. No cover!

🌲Saturday, 10.19.19: Johnson Hall in Gardiner, ME, with Maine Event Comedy again. Very excited to be performing in this theater. More information very soon!

🌃 Thursday, 10.24.19: RI Comedy Factory dinner/comedy show @ Club Platforms, 165 Poe Street, Providence, RI. Showtime is 8pm. $15 per ticket which includes a pasta buffet.

🍺 Sunday, 11.10.19: Hosting the RI Comedy Factory’s Pub on Park Veterans Day Eve Comedy Show @ 7:30 pm. Pub on Park, 665 Park Ave., Cranston, RI. Cover charge $15 per person.

🍺 Monday, 1.6.20: Hosting the Pub on Park Open Mic in Cranston, RI. This is a very fun mic that John Perrotta’s RI Comedy Factory has been running weekly for 6 1/2 years! Pub on Park, 665 Park Ave., Cranston, RI. Showtime is 8:30 pm. No Cover!

🏒 Friday, 4.3.20: Hosting and producing the 2nd annual “Schticks out for Nick” Memorial Comedy Benefit at Standup Underground in the Elbow Room in West Hartford, CT. I just booked hilarious co-headliners John Perrotta and Rockin’ Joe Hebert. This benefit sold out last April and we hope to do the same again next year. Doors open 7pm, show time is 8pm. 100% of net proceeds will be donated to the Nick Mayer Memorial Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. More details soon!

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I never meta feeling I didn’t like

One of the habits of people with concealed depression is sharing articles on social media which list the habits of people with concealed depression.

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The cannabis plants I’m growing right now look a lot like me: kind of weathered, but eventually good to roll.

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I tried to get a job by boasting I was a good painter, but what I was really saying was that I look cute in overalls. You can flash a lot of side boob in those things.

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Looking at my friend’s backside at the beach, I observed, “This is just like when I was born and the doctor said, ‘What a perfect ass!'”

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I’m going to make repurposed waist trainers out of old coozis, to get six-pack abs.

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I like saying “ruh-roh,” because I find that it consistently diffuses the tension in all emergency situations.

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Two bears walked into a bar.

I’m serious; we really have a bear problem in this town.

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I appreciate websites that don’t require me to push an extra button for the “@” when entering my email address.

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I sat on a penny in the heat and humidity and it remained affixed to the bottom of my left butt cheek. I’m glad nobody decided to stick their two cents in.

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I admire the keen observational skills of birdwatchers. I don’t know anything about birds, so I project my own feelings onto them: “That one isn’t paid enough attention by its mate. Also, it feels bloated.“

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I was at a show where one comic was so bad, the lady in front of me started giving her boyfriend a handjob. This one’s not a joke. I just wanted to let you know what my life was like.

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Most Americans will never know the horror of having to flee their country, but many of us have barely escaped the terrifying aromas of a recently abused bathroom. #shitholes

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I drove to the “black“ end of Hartford to do an open mic because I don’t see color, but then a red squirrel ran in front of my car and I hit a fire hydrant.

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Confucius says “How is Donald Trump like a fancy vacuum cleaner in a room filled with cow manure? He both sucks and blows, and is full of shit. Also, we Chinese think he looks like a giant eggroll.”

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Everyone’s dream is to work hard enough to one day be able to relax and have enough money, or achieve “Resting Rich Phase.”

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I want to attend a seminar on intermittent fasting, but am afraid there won’t be any good snacks.

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One of the things I value most is my sanity. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy my crazy side.

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Most women’s boobs are just like fraternal twins. Definitely part of a set, but not identical.

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My friend went on Plenty of Fish and got crabs.

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No one ever asked mayo if it wanted to be held. #mayotoo

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A great way to keep your eyeball muscles toned is to just keep looking around at everything in disgust.

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If you get a seven year itch after four years, then you had a pre-existing rash.

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When someone insults me, I tell them I hope they’re living under a bridge in 10 years, which is especially harsh, considering our crumbling infrastructure.

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Frankly I lost my joy for stand-up comedy a while ago but I plow on; it’s just something you know you have to do, like flossing.

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

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 spouse 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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The Nick Mayer Memorial Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving

I think of him during the “high holy days” of #stanleycupfinals and always.♥️

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The Nick Mayer Memorial Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving supports a variety of nonprofit organizations, with priority given to youth and high school ice hockey programs and “skaterships“ for players exhibiting a passion for the sport and a commitment to playing hockey in high school.

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You may make tax deductible donations to the Nick Mayer Memorial Fund at this link: https://hartford.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create?funit_id=2497

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Please share this link with anyone you think might be interested. Thank you.

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#mentalhealthawareness #hartfordfoundationforpublicgiving #memorialfund #schticksoutfornick

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Vascular surgeon thrilled patient now able to wear hotpants

Last week, I went through a series of procedures to remove varicose veins from my legs. I told the vascular surgeon that he was the reason I would be able to wear hotpants on stage this summer – but never cargo shorts; that would be déclassé!

I’m already through the most painful part of the procedures: learning what portion I owe after insurance.

It was quite an operation they had over at the Vein Clinics of America, no pun intended. The team really seemed to know what they were doing. After the first session, as the medical staff was leaving the procedure room, I said, “I’ve done a little bit of sketch comedy, and you guys are very good.“ The words came out of my mouth before I had a chance to think, previewing comedy with something akin to hot pants: surgical shorts. I think some of the lidocaine had gone to my head, straight through my small saphenous vein.

Betty Grable may have had “million dollar legs”, but I know that the cost to fix varicose veins in MY gams totaled $10,000, only half of which was covered by insurance. I’m going to need to get on stage a whole lot in hotpants this summer to take care of THAT bill!

Black compression stockings have a little BDSM vibe to them. Keep your feet (and your spirits) up!

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