An uncensored, extended CD/DVD combo of Owen Benjamin’s Comedy Central standup special High Five Til it Hurts (premiering Friday, June 28 at midnight) is scheduled for release July 2. The hourlong set is vintage Benjamin: wiener jokes, the problem of communication between the sexes, wiener jokes, an attack on a California law that requires drivers to have two hands on the wheel, wiener jokes, advice on how to deal with TSA body searches, wiener jokes, an obligatory stint at the piano, and of course, wiener jokes. I don’t mean to give the impression that Benjamin seems obsessed with the wiener; there is no “seems” about it. Let me put it this way: When he keeps talking about man’s adoration of the wiener, he means it.
That said, Benjamin has some funny material. He opens with some observations on the optimism of man’s best friend, and segues into a bit about how to deal with the highway patrol. He talks about opening for Julio Iglesias, describes a solution for the problem of road rage, and speculates on how men and women would differ in their reactions to having multiple wieners (perhaps his obsession is catching).
He ends with a visit to the piano, which he plays with some skill and finesse. While his routines there are not as elaborate as those of the comic genius who for me at least will always be at the top of the list of comedians working with the piano, Victor Borge, Benjamin gets a lot of well-deserved laughter. He begins by having a little fun with Timbaland, adds a bit of Beethoven, and takes a swipe at Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder’s articulation. He concludes the set by getting the audience to help him realize a dream: to sing lead in a power ballad. “Feel My Heat” makes for a very effective climax to a well-crafted performance.
Bonus material on the DVD includes his half-hour appearance on Comedy Central Presents: Owen Benjamin, and two videos from his CC Studio series, Jokes from the Middle East and Jokes from a Tunnel. There is a bit of repetition, but not anything overly intrusive.