by Austin L. Ray
Eddie Gossling isn’t a household name, but there’s a decent chance you’ve experienced his work. The 40-year-old comedian most recently wrote for, produced and occasionally acted on Tosh.0, but as the myriad characters and sound effects on Fresh Brewed Eddie suggest, he’s a talented voice actor as well. Those skills were last put to use in 2006 Disney feature The Wild, which found Gossling voicing a vulture named Scraw alongside Eddie Izzard, Janeane Garofalo and William Shatner. Elsewhere he’s been featured on Kimmel and various Comedy Central, Bravo and Game Show Network programs. Like many comedians who stick to their craft, he pops up here and there on the regular.
Fresh Brewed Eddie‘s tracklist is a little terrifying on first glance, in that it reads as if it would more accurately be titled Hackneyed Joke Premises You’ve Long Tired of, Piled Onto Each Other to Maddening Effect.”Depression,” “The N Word,” “Catholic Church,” “Drugs” and “Hip Hop” hint at a predictable listen, but Gossling’s material is mostly refreshing, particularly as it unravels. “Depression,” for instance, is about mocking a clinically-depressed friend and eventually involves a clown. “The N Word,” meanwhile, is about singing along to rap music and tossing glitter in a pal’s face. “Catholic Church” details premarital counseling, church attendance, blessing priests, not following the rules and hollering “Bread of Heaven!” while receiving communion. “Drugs” starts out as a bit about how marijuana is fun, but eventually morphs into how Gossling can’t do heroin because he’s too impatient. In a way, the titles serve as subtle jokes themselves, almost giving a side-glanced “Gotcha!” upon the realization that they were just fucking with you.
On “Hip Hop,” Gossling believes 50 Cent shouldn’t write love songs—going so far as to offer a rewritten line for him—and how Nelly is a hypnotist because he “has a song where he just talks about how hot it is and how this girl should take her clothes off, and then she’s like, ‘Man, it is hot. I am going to take my clothes off.’” If these references sound dated, it’s because they were recorded in 2006. After Fresh Brewed Eddie quickly went out of print, Stand Up! Records started the reissue process a few years ago but was plagued with art delays. The physical copy now comes lovingly repackaged with a nice cover illustration and a DVD, Big in Texas, featuring a very loose 2005 set recorded in Austin. The upside of all this is that a comedy release is getting the packaging care it deserves and fans have an easy way to acquire it, the downside that a set of new material would be easier to relate to and most likely better content since Gossling has been living and writing and performing for the past six years.
Some of Fresh Brewed Eddie‘s bits at first fall flat. “I Don’t Read,” clunkily morphs into a joke about how he in fact actually does read quite a bit, while “Smoothies,” an only-sort-of-funny riff on the titular refreshment, turns into a bit about adults wearing onesies. But the interesting part is how these jokes rebound and evolve as they unspool. “I Don’t Read” makes a few sudden turns, eventually ending with Gossling eating candles and picture frames in order to improve the flavor of his semen. “Smoothies,” on the other hand, involves his singing to his wife in a baby voice. The latter doesn’t go over well with the crowd, but the bizarre conclusion is delightful, if only in terms of unpredictability. Elsewhere a slow bit about aliens begins with how Gossling would be a terrible abduction subject, then sort of falls apart, bouncing back with anal probing and how funny it would be to derisively call an alien “Boba Fett.” The funny part being, of course, that the alien would have no idea what that means, but the fellow human captives would get a chuckle out of a bad situation. It’s an inspired thought, and similarly insightful gags pop up throughout the record. It’s just a shame how much work it sometimes takes to reach them.