Joe Mande is a man who exists almost entirely on the Internet for many of his fans, not unlike Lil B. He’s a well-worth-following Twitter tweeter with a recently purchased 1M (bot) followers and an abundance of farcical retweets from the likes of Nancy Grace and Tyrese. In addition to writing for shows like Parks and Recreation and Kroll Show, Mande has established himself as a prolific stand-up in his off time, and his first official release, Bitchface, comes in the form of a comedy mixtape. Put out by Greedhead, the label of Himanshu Suri of the now defunct Das Racist, in association with La Croix sparkling water, who Joe is currently repping, Bitchface clocks in at just under an hour, capturing the best of both the mixtape and comedy worlds.
The tape starts off with an assault of voicemail drops from a wide range of notable personalities like Earl Sweatshirt, Ken Jennings of Jeopardy fame, A$AP Yams, Meghan McCain, Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany, and so on. The net cast for names to drop is so disparate that you can’t help but laugh as the swelling beat underneath the shout-outs builds into something that could be on a Young Thug mixtape or in a title card transition for Kroll Show. It’s clear what kind of comic Mande is as soon as his material kicks off, using “hash tag” in conversation as if he’s live tweeting the show. His breakdown of performing at colleges is one that anyone who’s ever been to a college comedy show can attest to, right down to the sad girls in pajama pants and overbearing Student Activities representative pre-censoring the material. Later, Mande reminisces on his time in college, specifically the parts about being stoned, watching Legend, and getting mugged at Domino’s. The tension in the story of the low-key/high kid robbery is hilarious with the comic diffusing any sense of danger by noting his stoned reaction and youthful over-analyzing at every turn.
The skits and drops scattered throughout the tape blend Mande’s style and the popular mixtape tropes effortlessly. The “Torture Skit” spoofs the intro to Wu-Tang Clan’s “Method Man”, with Mande, Nick Kroll, Jon Daly, and Jenny Slate trading passive aggressive barbs like “I’ll fucking buy you a airplane ticket on Delta” and gives the mixtape one of its funnier drops: “Hot turd sleeps!” Kroll and Aziz Ansari take on most of the drop duties, shouting out things like: “Souplantation, Mande Unchained!”; “Joe Mande’s about to go through your system like a juice cleanse”; and “I remember Pauly Shore when he was just a kid. I represent Joe Mande now, and I couldn’t be prouder.” The outro, entirely voiced by Mande, matches the energy and humor of the opening bit and then takes it to the nth degree, shouting out influential people in his life like Jared Leto, Tim Tebow, everyone at GOOP.com, apl.de.ap., Dr. Jenny McCarthy, Bobby Jindal, Kris Jenner, and too many more to name but definitely a few mentions that will make any listener laugh.
The mixtape elements are an uncommon take on killing the monotony of listening to the crowd laugh and clap between jokes, and I fully expect this mixtape to open the floodgates for comedy releases of a similar ilk. That being said, it’s unlikely that many will find the same level of success as Mande does on this effort. It perfectly captures the nexus of his comedy and combines it with the appropriate components of a musical genre that often comes as close to comedy as music does.
Essential Tracks: “Souplantation”, “Domino’s”, and “Outro”