Let Me Put My Thoughts in You is Dana Gould’s first DVD release. It’s also his first comedy special in more than a decade. But don’t worry, he spent the intervening years as an Emmy-winning writer on The Simpsons, so you know he has the skills. He also married and started a family in that time, so you know he has the material.
Right out of the gate Gould hits gold discussing the genetic imperatives behind adopting his children, but he quickly and seamlessly segues into bits about everything from his father’s indiscriminate discrimination to the polite way to eat a chocolate cock, from streamlining airport security to solving global warming and its connection to the rise in popularity of espresso drinks (the ice caps are melting because the smartest people in the world are too busy trying to make coffee taste more like pumpkin ).
He slays the crowd with a bit on the futility of attempting to reason with a five-year-old, imagines Satan as a puppy, explains that young people can’t be bums because they could work in a factory making sex toys, and then expands to talk about a family of sex toy assembly line workers (“That vibrating love wand put a roof over your head!”). Every single joke is genuinely funny, with more laugh-out-loud moments than it’s probably advisable to view at 4AM, and every joke seems to come naturally, almost unexpectedly, out of Gould’s comfortable demeanor.
That may be Gould’s most impressive talent, making all of his hilarious bits flow in a freely conversational manner. His experience as a writer really shines in the absence of any awkward transitions. His ease of delivery, along with his voice and facial expressions, contribute to his unfailing ability to sell every bit without looking like he’s trying. That’s probably the greatest part of Let Me Put My Thoughts in You. Well, that, and the sequence about Angry Blowjobs.
Let Me Put My Thoughts in You was filmed at Chicago’s Second City Theater in June of 2008 by Bob Odenkirk, and was originally broadcast on Showtime in mid-March 2009. There is also an audio CD of the performance, but it suffers slightly because it lacks the effect of Gould’s physicality on some of the jokes. It also has no extras. The DVD’s bonus features include a short backstage interview with Gould, conducted by Odenkirk, in which they discuss other alternative comics who came up the early ‘90s when Gould was first making a name for himself (Janeane Garofalo and Kathy Griffin, among others). Gould also talks about getting back into stand up and how his stint as a writer on The Simpsons helped make him a better comic.
There is also a short film written and directed by Gould, titled Soul Mates, that explores the hidden implications of loving someone forever. Finally, there are two deleted scenes from the comedy special: an Indefensibly Tasteless Bonus Bit that links abortion legislation to Special Olympics domination (it’s indefensibly tasteless, but it’s also undeniably hilarious) and a “Woe is Me Bonus Complaint that finds Gould riffing on the writers’ strike and his own future nightmare dental disasters.
These bits didn’t get cut because they are any less funny than what made it into the show, nor were they left out because of their subject matter—obviously Gould is not afraid to venture into touchy territory, whether it’s about sex toys, serial killers or even his own kids. They were most likely dropped because they didn’t flow with the rest of the set.
Let Me Put My Thoughts in You is a magnificent return to the stand-up comedy special for Dana Gould, who is, as this performance proves, one of the best and most endearingly twisted comic minds of the times.