After being named “Comedian of the Year” at the American Comedy Awards, winning two Emmy Awards and, most recently, having his “Lovemaster” routine voted Most Popular Comedy on XM Radio’s Big Schtick Award in 2007, Craig Lovemaster has chosen an ideal time to release a new live stand-up album.
ThoughÂ The Lovemaster… UnzippedÂ starts off with Shoemaker as a safe-cracking family guy straight from TGIFÂ working the audienceÂ with his jokes about mini vans, Costco, and the difference between kids then and kids now,Â he eventuallyÂ manages to walk a fine line between too dirty for middle America and tooÂ suburban for Comedy Central. This mixed identity is clearly illustrated on the back of the cd in an image of a bedside tableÂ with a smoking cigarette in an ashtray on one side and a set of car keys on the other. Shoemaker has the ability to embody both sides of this comic personaÂ while managingÂ each with equal dexterity. He even acknowledges this aspect of his humor at one point (halfway through a bit performed in character as “The Lovemaster”) when he points out that half the audience is probably wondering “Where’d the mini van guy go?”
Some may be offended by his occasional crassness and some may be put off when he resorts to jokes about Thomas the Train, but the bottom line is this: Craig Shoemaker is funny. His offerings on suburban houselife, divorce and the dating scene are easy to laugh at, whether you’ve been there or not. In fact, there are several points throughout the album that audiences will find themselves laughing out loud for an extended period of time. His humor doesn’t necessarily push any boundaries, butÂ often this works to his advantage.
The live atmosphere of the recording brings aÂ you-are-there ambience to the albumÂ and the audience’sÂ favorable response to Shoemaker’s material doesn’t hurt. Some of the “improv”Â bits feel a little pre-planned, such as the monologue inÂ the track “Hey Nineteen”Â that he unleashesÂ on a nineteen year old girl in the audience or the final track “Machine Gun” where he probes the audience for guy’s attempts at machine gun fire sound effects. Then again, maybe he’s just that clever and quick-witted. Either way, The Love Master… Unzipped is an album that promises laughs andÂ doesn’t disappoint.Â
Zach’s Rating: B-
Perfect For: The suburb guy looking to be more cutting edge
Stay Away if: You’re not a Ray Romano fan