I’ve described Jeff Cottrill as a stand-up poet, his work an LOL funny mash-up of stand-up comedy and spoken word that pokes fun at individual and societal silliness – and this is in high evidence in his recent spoken word CD This Album is NIT FENNY!
This Album is NIT FENNY! features 12 tracks of original work, performed by Cottrill, with Mike Bryant joining him on two pieces. From the pointed send-up of mainstream movies and the cult of celebrity in “Pitches” and “Hallie Berry,” to extremist left-wing politics and activist posers in “How to Become a Deranged Leftist Reactionary” and “IAmSoOffended?” to Darwin Award-winning stupidity in “Safety Instructions” (one of my personal faves) and “Politics” – this is spoken word that neither suffers fools nor pities them.
Cottrill’s work has not been without controversy. He’s been accused of being offensive, and that he makes fun of social awareness, left-wing activists and feminists. Everyone’s entitled to his/her own opinion. I’ve seen him perform several times, including bits from this record, and my take is that what he’s making fun of is stupidity, extremism and intolerance. Basically, Cottrill is pointing out that anyone can be a jackass – which means we’re all capable of jackassery. And his tongue-in-cheek stand-up delivery results in performances that stay clear of mean-spiritedness.
Cottrill even sends up his own acquaintances, as well as himself, in the hysterical build up of bullshit excuses from a guy who claims he won’t be able to see a friend’s show in “The Jim Show,” and the sarcastic praise (from a female point of view) to his own personal quirks and shortcomings in “Dreamboat” (which I’d love to hear Dame Helen Mirren read sometime).
You can catch Cottrill in and around Toronto at various poetry/spoken word events and open mics, including Lizzie Violet’s Cabaret Noir; you can check out upcoming events here. You can also keep up with Cottrill’s shenanigans on Twitter and Facebook, and various other links.