Music Article

Twelve CDs You've Gotta Get

Twelve CDs Penn Jillette Says You've Gotta Get -- The comedian-magician loves Albert Brooks, Stan Freberg, and more

1 THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS Sibling Revelry: The Best of the Smothers Brothers 1998 (Rhino) ''Mom Always Liked You Best! [1965] was the first album I ever bought. Before the Beatles, before the Mothers of Invention, before the Velvet Underground, there was the Smothers Brothers. Perfect timing, great jokes. I can do all their albums by heart.''

2 ALBERT BROOKS Comedy Minus One 1973 (Rhino) ''I don't know any comic around my age that can't recite this word for word. It's a perfect album. The joke premise is that he's going to teach every listener to do comedy; the big joke was that he really did.''

3 THE FIRESIGN THEATRE Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers 1970 (Columbia) ''This will teach you that comedy doesn't have to be jokes, and sometimes, it doesn't even have to be funny, it can just be good.''

4 STAN FREBERG Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 1996 (Rhino) ''The other day David Silverman, a big cheese at The Simpsons, was visiting me at my home. We started singing this, and we couldn't stop. We both knew all of it.''

5 TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE Soundtrack 2004 (Atlantic) ''The greatest political statements made for our time, made by puppets, and heard between laughs. Freedom isn't free.''

6 PHYLLIS DILLER The Best of Phyllis Diller 2002 (laugh.com) ''She was the first comedian without testicles to have balls. She played with the big boys.''

7 GILBERT GOTTFRIED Dirty Jokes 2005 (Image) ''The funniest man alive.''

8 MARTIN MULL Martin Mull and His Fabulous Furniture in Your Living Room 1973 (Capricorn) ''So smart, so funny, and...he sings in tune and can really play guitar. All other 'comedy' musicians forget about the music. Martin never did.''

9 THE NATIONAL LAMPOON RADIO HOUR: BEST MOMENTS 2003 (Rhino) ''Everything good about Saturday Night Live, before Saturday Night Live. Another one to memorize.''

10 LENNY BRUCE The Lenny Bruce Originals Volume 1 1992 (Fantasy) ''He made comedy into jazz...''

11 GEORGE CARLIN FM & AM 1972 (Atlantic) ''...and he took comedy from jazz to rock & roll and beyond. Carlin is truly the grand master.''

12 MARSHALL DODGE AND ROBERT BRYAN Bert and I & More Bert and I 1983 (bertandi.net) ''What can I say, I'm from New England. You say, 'You can't get there from here,' and I laugh. To you, they talk funny; to me, they are funny.''

The soundtrack to The Aristocrats, the filthy-joke documentary produced by the comedian-magician, will be out Dec. 6.

Originally posted Nov 25, 2005 Published in issue #852 Dec 02, 2005 Order article reprints