Back in the early 60s, comedy albums were big. People would go to parties not expecting to hear music, but, instead, the host would put on a comedy record for everyone. And comedians loved to cash in, since it was a great way to reach a larger audience for an extended act. Most TV shows only gave you five minutes or so; a record could be 40 minutes, allowing you to build into a full routine. For a time, comedy albums actually topped the album charts.
The popularity faded away, but up through the 70s, record companies continued to put out new talent to try to hit the jackpot. And the funniest record I ever heard was First Rush by Chris Rush.
Rush was a former National Lampoon writer* who went into stand up. His act was dirty mouthed, though not with much preoccupation with sex. But he had a unique comedy style. Nearly all comedians use the form of setup-punchline-setup-punchline, alternating between setting up the joke and then telling going with the punchline. Some use a double punchline -- a topper to the joke following immediately afterwards.
Chris Rush told his jokes in the format setup-punchline-punchline-punchline-PUNCHLINE, with each punchline funnier than the next. You'd barely have time to laugh at the first before he hits you with another. You end up developing "laugh face,"** where your cheeks and jaws end up hurting from all the laughs.
The subjects were kind of a mixture of George Carlin and Lennie Bruce*** He observes things about life at the time, with hilarious results. My favorite was "Abie's Magic Hat," more a single joke than a routine, but one that nails the absurdity of some religious practices. "Jesus in a Dope Bust" was also fairly well known, based on the concept that Jesus hung out with the type of people who would be considered hippies in the 60s.
The album is long unavailable and doesn't seem to have made the transition to CD. Rush continued as a comedian, even putting out a few CDs, but never became a major star. First Rush's drug references date it a bit, but it's still as funny as anything you'll hear.
*Well, he was billed as such. It looks like he only wrote seven articles (several of which ended in "Best of Lampoon" collections, though) in the first year of the magazine, and was not among their major names like Doug Kenny, Henry Beard, Michael O'Donoghue, etc.
**Rush used the term himself on the LP.
***Some critics of the time thought he paled next to Bruce. I've seen very little of Lenny, but I think they were focusing on Rush's language and not seeing a whole different style of comedy.