Andy Sandford has paid his dues. The stand-up comic toured and recorded albums (as well as a web series) with his fellow Beards of Comedy—Dave Stone, TJ Young, and Joe Zimmerman—from 2008 to 2013. Now Sandford has released an exceptionally good first solo album, Me the Whole Time, which invites comparisons to other memorable introductions like John Mulaney‘s The Top Part. An album like this makes it clear that Sandford is an undeniable young talent.
Recorded in his hometown of Atlanta before a very energetic crowd, Me the Whole Time is everything a first album should be: packed with strong material from start to finish, filled with the type of memorable bits that will make people take notice and completely accessible to newcomers.
The hour starts off solid, if a little hesitant, but soon Sandford’s material flows comfortably, his thoughts on turning 30 transitioning easily to those on Netflix, the national debt and the perks of being broke. He’s a gifted storyteller, setting the scene of a crappy New York apartment shared with four roommates, where he lounges on his kitchenette couch listening to baseball on the radio, a peek at what it was like to be “bored in the 1920s.”
Most importantly, the album is very funny. There are jokes to take home (“It took drinking an entire bottle of Jack Daniels for me to learn…that I am invincible and no one can stop me,”) clever turns of phrase (“Food is my John Connor, and I was sent to destroy it,”) and some hysterical personal tales. It’s a testament to Sandford’s deep well of material that midway through the album, he’s telling stories that many comics would save for their closers. He tops his worst-gig-ever story (opening for an angry clown in a box) with a recollection of his brief stint in a Georgia jail, and his cellmate’s real-life obsession with a certain member of the Huxtable TV family.
But he’s saving the best for last, closing with a hysterical story about Abbott and Costello’s classic “Who’s on First?” routine that is the type of joke fans will remember (and probably shout at him to retell) for years to come. Telling a good joke about another good joke is a trick in itself, but this story unfolds perfectly, a slow burn of a gag that allows audience members to catch on at their own speed. Sandford’s comfortable getting out of the way of his own joke, and it pays off.
It’s a well-worn trope that in comedy, timing is everything, but that idea even extends to the making of a release. It’s become increasingly common for young comics to record albums very early, memorializing half-baked bits while burning material with real potential. But in Sandford’s case, he’s chosen just the right moment, with an impressive hour that demonstrates he is about to become a major force on the comedy scene.