Published Jul 08, 2019Though he downplays his smarts with a dumb guy affectation, Pat Burtscher cannot hide an enlightened perspective on his own life and our shared timeline together. His bits here seem off-the-cuff, as though he's finding them in the moment, but closer listening reveals a person whose exasperation is the product of deep thoughts.
Patty Cakes begins with some crowd work, as Burtscher laments the stage setup for this live taping and homes in on what sounds like a woman, whose laugh is so domineering, she appears to have been seated right behind a microphone. Admitting he has some OCD issues, there's a sense that Burtscher is simply being open, not only about his discomfort, but with his lot in life generally. He gets out of this small fiasco by suggesting he is no longer chasing his dreams and is resigned to walk after them. Fuck the dreams, he implies, mocking his own work ethic, which is amusing.
As we get better acquainted, Burtscher makes some rather heavy admissions about his personal life, and there are moments where you can hear hardship informing funny material. He does a run about how we can possibly trust scientists to assess that goldfish can't remember things, or that people don't really know how to use their faces to properly express themselves. There is mistrust and frustration that we can all relate to, but as he tells us eventually, it may well be unique to a fellow who has endured a specific kind of trauma.
If there is pain swimming around the syrup of Patty Cakes, it's generally kept at bay by a comedian who just wants to make his audience laugh, even if one of them sounds like a chicken lady or something. Pat Burtscher may come across as casually unassuming here, but it's a ruse by a guy who is fully in command of his craft. (Comedy Records)