Matt Braunger is a man who’s willing to be the butt of the joke, even when he’s joking about how trying to keep up with his younger friends when they party is slowly killing him. He’s big, and he would seem to argue that, at times, he can be animalistic, but his stand-up special is too smart for him to be truly called “dumb.” Braunger would probably agree with that as well. Overall, he seems pretty agreeable and laid-back. Unless you cross him, at which point you may have to live in fear for the rest of your life.
There is nothing particularly inventive about Big Dumb Animal. Braunger stands on the stage and discusses his personal life while mixing in the occasional flight of fancy about gay people causing natural disasters and how fashionable the Nazis were. Most of his stories involve drugs and/or alcohol in some capacity. However, his stories on those well-worn topics are mostly funny, and Braunger is clear in vocalizing his opinions on these matters, even if his opinion tends to be that he has been an idiot.
His energy is high throughout, and he definitely has a physical presence. He is indeed a big man, and he has a big voice to go with it, which is helpful when it comes to selling his jokes. However, he does not grate on you, and he knows how to handle the flow of joke. Additionally, the direction on this special is particularly impressive. While it’s simple (the special is just a man on a stage, after all) it looks good, and the camera angles are eclectic and engaging, making the performance feel more dynamic and action-packed than it actually is.
Big Dumb Animal should please both fans of Braunger and stand-up fans in general. It may be, on the surface, pretty much the same old stuff, and that does hold it back a tinge, but there’s nothing inherently bad about traditional fare, especially when it is handled so expertly. It’s a good hour or so of comedy, which isn’t reinventing the wheel, but is a worthwhile endeavor.
Big Dumb Animal airs on Comedy Central tonight at Midnight ET/11 PM CT.
Chris Morgan is an Internet gadabout who writes on a variety of topics and in a variety of mediums. If he had to select one thing to promote, however, it would be his ’90s blog/podcast, Existential Parachute Pants. You can also follow him on Twitter.