Dallas — Aaron Aryanpur is a man of process. Those who’ve followed his career for more than a decade have watched his evolution from full-time graphic artist to professional stand-up, from young father to a middle-aged one, from super-chunky to skinny and part the way back again. Those on his Facebook and Twitter feeds went through the stages of grief with him during the recent loss of his father to a fast and aggressive illness.
It’s not surprising that his debut CD captures the process of recording a comedy show. Part of a comedian’s skill is how they deal with a disruptive audience. Hence the title, In Spite Of (find it on iTunes and Amazon). Recorded at Hyena’s Dallas, while having to deal with a couple of loud, inebriated women up front, an utterly sober one trips and falls face down next to the stage. His retort is priceless and management of the situation superb. All entwined with a comedy bit about his evolution as a young parent. VIDEO
Aryanpur’s humor explores the interplay of wan acceptance and extreme exasperation that arises from being intelligent and self-aware. He captures the pathos of parenthood in clear honesty without meanness. Burdened with intense self-reflection, many a light-hearted bit is pushed to rant level as we veer down the existential rabbit hole of an anxious mind, but do so laughing all the way. And example is his bit “Ear Infections and Accidental Racism.” VIDEO
It says a lot about Aryanpur that Stand Up! Records selected him. Ramping up to the CD debut on July 29 was several days of video releases (á la “Weird Al” Yankovic’s latest). And for that day, In Spite Of was No. 1 on the iTunes comedy charts. It was a hard-won victory for a CD that took a year to manifest, delayed by multiple turnover of editors and techno crises.
Aryanpur capped his stellar Friday at the top of the charts with a featured set at Backdoor Comedy Club. He showcased from the CD the bits “All Thumbs and Magical Places” VIDEO and others. But he skipped the classics from the CD such as “Coconut Shrimp,” a dish he doesn’t like but orders just so his wife can have some; “Funnel Cake Epiphanies,” weight loss via gallbladder emergency caused by Texas State Fair food; and “Marriage is 'Great',” with his classic bit on the past-tense nature of the word “married” as opposed to the present-tense active style of “dating.”
As a frequent performer at Backdoor, Aryanpur made sure to present the audience regulars plenty of newer material. The line between chaos and civilization is evidently the one for free soft-serve at Jason’s Deli. Along the same mind frame, wouldn’t we all like to be hired smackers of obnoxious kids at Disneyland? Now that his two boys are older, they’re always borrowing the smartphone for World of Warcraft. This can be a real hamper on marital sexting.
But where the comedy got Aryanpurish deep was the most recent material on the passage of Sam, his dad, an Iranian-American who after divorcing Aaron’s Jewish mother remarried and moved to Palestine, Texas, “where he was the only one who looked like he belonged there.” A terrific multi-layered routine captured the younger-older brother rivalry around the hospice bed. A dad dementia bit had a sweet sting. As the humor of the loss arises with the passage of time, whether it becomes a CD or one-man show, it’s going to be amazing.
» To see a list of upcoming Aryanpur gigs, go here
» The video posted above is “Stop, Drop and Party” from In Spite Of. The neatnik Aryanpur copes (sort of) with his oldest son’s craft mania. Glitter!