As much a fan as Johnny Brennan is of racing, race fans are also fans of his. Whether it’s for his role in Fox’s “Family Guy” as Mort, or his Jerky Boys character “Frank Rizzo” who “works on racecars”, most race fans young and old have been influenced by Brennan’s comedy. So of course, we’ve all been wondering, will we ever get another Jerky Boys album? Well, in a year that took so much from us, 2020, we were also given the first new Jerky Boys album in over 20 years!
Record Label, Comedy Dynamics, released The Jerky Boys, a new self titled LP, on streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Pandora, Tidal and more on November 27th. If this is news to you, that’s great, because it means you can go listen to it RIGHT NOW! But if you can’t just yet, read on for our review of the new album featuring new prank calls from old favorites like Frank Rizzo, Sol Rosenburg, Jack Tor, Mike Derucki and even some new characters!
The last time there was a new Jerky Boys album, many people were yet to own smart phones. Electric cars weren’t common, vacuums weren’t robotic. To say that times have changed would be an oversimplification. Before even listening to the new album, one must wonder, how will Brennan navigate the modern comedy landscape with this one? How when so much is automated or inhumanized do prank phones calls fit in? In the absence of prank phone call comedy recently, we’ve seen a wealth of prank content on YouTube as well as shows like “Impractical Jokers”. Almost simultaneously, there’s been a rise in the popularity of Podcasts, typically an audio only medium, perhaps now was exactly the time to drop a new Jerky Boys album (not to mention how glum most of us are over the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the contentious election season, some nostalgic comedy is exactly what we needed right now).
The album immediately gives longtime Jerky Boys fans what they’ve been missing, the characters they’ve come to know over the years. Frank Rizzo and Sol Rosenburg return exactly as we remember them within the albums first few tracks. We’re also treated to “Boonie” who appears to be a new character with a penchant for interrupting the prankee before they can even respond to his questions.
If one measures the success of a prank by the believability, then Brennan’s characters really succeed. They all feel like real people in our lives, and the situations he places them exist just outside the boundaries of typical or believable. Do you not have that weird uncle who may have taped a knife to an iRobot Vacuum because he has brittle fingernails? In interviews, Johnny has made clear that all of his characters are inspired by real people in his life growing up in New York, so his comedy really hits especially for New Yorkers, who all have these characters in their lives, the Sol’s and Rizzo’s.