Joseph Scrimshaw records a comedy album with its own soundtrack

Joseph Scrimshaw is a very flawed man.

This weekend, the comedian hopes you’ll join him as he records these flaws for all eternity.

Joseph Scrimshaw
(Photo by Craig Van Der Schaegen)

Friday and Saturday night Scrimshaw is performing “Flaw Fest” at Bryant-Lake Bowl in Minneapolis. The show will be recorded for an album that will be available as a CD or as downloadable MP3s. In what Scrimshaw believes is a first, the album will include its own soundtrack.

Scrimshaw says part of the motivation driving the album is financial, of course, but there’s artistic inspiration, too.

“I’ve been doing a lot more of what I think of as ‘comedy talking,’ explains Scrimshaw, “basically, a combination of stand-up comedy and storytelling. The Flaw Fest show is a great example of it so I really wanted to capture it in some permanent form. One of the nice things about this style of comedy is that it’s easier to capture and share with a wide audience than say a two hour comedic play with six actors.”

During the show, Scrimshaw will explore his obsession with bad James Bond video games and his need to fight with large animals, among others.

“There’s also a story about a truly, truly stupid rock n’ roll song I wrote when I was fourteen,” Scrimshaw says. “It’s a song called ‘Mr. Suckface.’ It’s about a helium balloon and is full of confusing sexual analogies because I was trying to get attention when I was fourteen and didn’t comprehend sex yet.”

Scrimshaw says a lot of his musicians friends remarked on the song, which got him thinking about how comedy and music overlap.

“I thought it would be great if there was a song inspired by individual stories, lines, or ideas from the show. There’s a ballad by Bill Corbett called ‘Bond’s Bad Day.’ John Munson of The New Standards recorded a great rock song about listening to advice from your spouse called ‘Wife Head.’  The Doubleclicks (who recently made a big splash with their YouTube video ‘Nothing to Prove’) wrote a song about eggs.

“It’s cool because it’s not only creating all these new songs, it’s taking a lot of the ideas in the comedy show and taking them to another level. When you do comedy, you want people to think about the ideas behind it and the songs are a way to make that process very real and palpable.”

Scrimshaw admits that modern comedy albums are a niche market. He may eventually release a video version, but thought audio was the right place to start.

“There’s a certain intimacy to audio. You often listen to it alone, in your car, in your ear buds. The Flaw Fest show is definitely funny and bombastic,” says Scrimshaw, “but there’s some deeply personal stuff in it.”

Scrimshaw says he hopes the album will generate thousands of laughs — and dollars. And maybe even a little introspection.

“I really like the core idea of the show which is that we’re all riddled with flaws and imperfections,” he says. “We do stupid things and the only hope we have to stop doing them is to analyze why we do them. And that’s sort of the highest goal of comedy–to pull some dark stuff out into the light, look at it, laugh at it, and hopefully make life a little better through that process. And then, also, maybe listen to a song about it.”

“Flaw Fest” is set to be released in November.