Drew Hastings -- Irked and Miffed|
3.5 out of 5 stars
Reviewed for Coffeerooms by Mike Jefferson
I’ve always believed the stereotype that people from Ohio look and act like the pinched, pitchfork yielding farmer and his plain Jane wife depicted in Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” painting. Acerbic comic Drew Hastings has changed my mind. Encased in a black designer suit, wearing Elvis Costello glasses topped off with a twisted 80s haircut, he looks like a grumpy Barry Bostwick with a tossed salad on his head, and acts as if he’s a citified, sarcastic Bohemian. “How do you like my new glasses?” Hastings asks the audience. “These are my Al Sharpton glasses. Big, black, you can see right through them.”
Hastings’s neurotic stage presence stems from his incongruous upbringing and the diverse places he’s lived in. He was born in England and moved to Ohio at a young age. (“Anyone a child of English parents? One? Very few of us survive.”) After living in Cincinnati, New York City, San Francisco, and Hollywood, Hastings tired of urban life and bought the farm in Ohio. He’s been a comedian/farmer for about four years, and his blue thumb (“I have a fifty percent kill rate”) provides him with some of his most creative material.
You might be shocked at how far over the line of decency this harmless looking comic is willing to go, but you’ll laugh too. Hastings’ 63-minute DVD starts off slowly, but the humor picks up when he begins to lampoon what he knows best – farm life, hunting, and sex. Hastings isn’t always a top-notch storyteller. For instance, his admiration for the 80s Robert Wagner/Stephanie Powers TV private eye show “Hart to Hart” takes a while to reach a weak punch line, and he sometimes seems to drop the F bomb just because he knows he has the freedom to do it.
Hastings best routines are hardly routine, as indicated by the titles “The World According to A.A.R.P,” “Deer Hunting With My Cat,” “Chain Saws and Swine Production,” and “Third Day of A One-Night Stand.” His funniest moments are invariably personal ones, such as entertaining the idea of being a father at 50. Holding out his wobbling hands, he says, “I’d end up shaking the baby to death!” Commenting on his talents as a farmer, he brags, “I get subsidies…From the farmers on either side of me. They pay me not to try and grow anything.” One of his funniest bits tweaks Ohio’s less than exciting rural life: “I took my girlfriend on a hayride. There were loose bales of hay all around us and everybody’s smoking! We were on the hayride to Hades! I spent the entire ride looking for compatible skin graft donors! I told the hay ride driver, ‘Why don’t you just drive us to the f***in’ Shriners burn unit?’”
Hastings also pokes fun at his own sexual experiences, including experimenting with Viagra: “You may have the erection of a nineteen year-old, but you still have the lungs of a fifty year-old smoker.” Erotic asphyxiation hardly seems like a knee-slapper, but by talking about it from his inexperienced point of view, Hastings doesn’t choke on the subject (sorry).
Be forewarned – Hastings will never win any awards for his feminism. He’s a bit crude when describing his sexual encounters, and his funniest routine, comparing naughty bits to a Starbuck’s coffee cup, is something I won’t repeat here. But he does try to make up for his seeming lack of sensitivity by poking fun at his own stupidity. And you’ve gotta love a guy whose favorite song is Traffic’s “Low Spark of Heeled Boys.”
You won’t necessarily launch into uncontrollable fits of hysteria watching Drew Hastings’ “Irked and Miffed,” but it may make you happy that Ohio can be a state of mind instead of your home state.