David Browne
May 29, 1992 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Rating reissued comedy albums

Comedy albums get no respect. Many classics (1960’s The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart or Woody Allen’s ’60s collection, Standup Comic) aren’t available on CD, if at all. That may be changing, thanks to Lenny Bruce’s Originals and a batch of new CD rereleases from Legacy, the reissue leg of Sony. The real find is National Lampoon’s Gold Turkey, a compilation of skits from the ’70s radio show (featuring John Belushi and Chevy Chase, pre-Saturday Night Live). In best Lampoon tradition, the bits are often tasteless and deranged, but moments like ”Alternative Child,” about a preschool run like a Marine camp, make up for it (”at the age of 4, each child must pass a survival test”). Robert Klein’s 1975 album New Teeth isn’t as hysterical as his Child of the 50’s, but features a parody of the deathbed scene in The Babe Ruth Story, complete with absurd baseball metaphors. Eddie Murphy’s 1982 debut album, Eddie Murphy, has some good lines (”I’m from a predominantly black family, and I have yet to run into a relative named Buckwheat”), yet his later arrogance comes through in an antigay bit and in his lame attempts at singing. Turkey: B+ Teeth: B Murphy: C+

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