He's fucking hilarious.
Yedoye Travis’ comedy album “Ok,” which dropped this past Thursday, is an impressive piece of self-aware, socio-political relevant art. Yedoye isn’t afraid to poke fun at himself, but at a closer look you realize he’s actually commenting on larger cultural forces at play, ones that impact how those around him see and judge him. His first track jokes that everyone’s always complimenting him for the hit TV show Atlanta, and later refers to himself as the “Hipster Fredrick Douglas.” He isn’t just making self-deprecating comments on his appearance, he’s throwing shade on white audiences' tendency to put performers of color in boxes, to lazily confuse their work, and to thus de-legitimize their hard work and artistic prowess.
A 2017 Just for Laughs “New Face of Comedy,” Yedoye already has an unstoppable momentum and obvious likability that mesmerizes his followers. While listening to this album, I often found myself forgetting to take notes, as I was completely entranced by his eloquent use of metaphors, punchlines, and genuinely unique perspectives on hot-button issues. I’d definitely say the album’s second half is where Yedoye comes out strongest, hitting his most racially biting and politically poignant jokes, unafraid to potentially alienate some of his crowd. He often had me laughing at the sheer unexpectedness of his punchlines, once setting up a joke about feeling uncomfortable in overtly white spaces, because he’s always “the sexiest person in the room...by technicality.” You get the sense that he fully intended on turning the dialogue around race completely on its head, making analogies that, once you got them, gave listeners that very satisfying “aha” moment, and made them feel fully in on the joke.
Throughout the album, Yedoye addresses the paradox of the type of liberalism that inspired the movie Get Out (the unfortunately popular line, “I’m not racist but…”), the bat-shitness of birth and gun control policies, and the differences between being a black actor and a white actor in Hollywood. His quicker jokes often left me wanting more—more elaboration and more laughable insight. I thought that in the first half of his album, his jokes triumphed their actual delivery, while in the second half, Yedoye found a comfortable flow, and knew exactly when to pause for laughter, interact with his crowd, and even walk off stage for a few minutes (listen to find out why!)
It’s no wonder “Ok” is the #3 comedy album right now on iTunes (it hit #1 this weekend, but has since been trumped by Adam Carolla’s and Jim Gaffigan’s albums). Yedoye is a force to be reckoned with in 2018, one that understands the intricate complexities of society’s longest fought plights. He rarely, if ever, revolves around obscenity or blatantly insulting comedy to make his larger messages digestible. His talents are inherent in the words he speaks, the observations he makes, and his obvious comfort with his audience, likely due to the fact that he shot the special in his hometown of Atlanta. I wish the album ended on a bit of a stronger note, perhaps a callback to an earlier joke, or a more astute observation, but I didn’t even stop my phone from restarting the album back to Track 1, eager to see the new places I’d find myself laughing the second time around.
Buy Yedoye Travis’ “Ok” here.