REVIEW: The Jerky Boys – The Jerky Boys (1993)

Part 1 of a 3 part series on comedy CDs – specifically, prank call albums!  Dedicated to my best bud, Peter.

THE JERKY BOYS – The Jerky Boys (1993 Select)

When this album came out back in 1993, it wasn’t available in Canada yet. Somehow, my best friend Peter caught wind of it. I think he read about the Jerky Boys in the Toronto Sun. Regardless, he knew it was available in the US. With a trip already planned for Frankenmuth, Michigan in April of ’93 (right after final exams), Peter and I made the trip with a secondary mission: acquire a copy of The Jerky Boys.  On cassette, so we could listen to it on the way back home.

Mission accomplished. We listened to that tape (I upgraded to CD later on) non-stop in the van. Literally, non-stop. As in, flip the tape, start over. And then do it again. The whole time there, and the whole way home. Within days we had started calling people “jerky” and incorporated words like “sizzlechest” into our daily vernacular.

That was a long time ago and Peter and I are older (and wiser?) now. But we both still like that first Jerky Boys album. I guess it’s because when I was a kid, I used to prank call people all the time. That was the 1980’s and well before caller ID. If we only could have mastered our craft, maybe we would have been like the Jerky Boys! If only we knew you could have made money doing this!

Anyway, long story short, this CD is for people with immature senses of humour, like me. It’s all prank phone calls, all real, mostly hilarious. There are several “characters” (played by Johnny Brennan and Kamal) who perform the calls. Most of the time, they’re responding to ads in newspapers.  Businesses abused by the Jerky Boys include lawyers, doctors and car dealerships.  Highlights for Peter and I were:

* “Auto Mechanic” – This was our favourite.  Johnny B is looking for a job, because at his old job he had problems with his “fucking boss”.

* “Egyptian Magician” – Kamal calls up a nightclub to audition his magic act. His magic tricks include “stabbing customer in eye with sabre” and “sicking a mountain cat on the crowd.”  (He is advised not to bring the mountain cat for his first show.)

* “Car Salesman” – He can sell anything, but don’t ask him why he wants to commute that distance. That’s his business, jerky!

* “Sushi Chef” – The caller repeatedly punctuates his sentences with the unintelligible words “Unnn gahhhh!” much to the confusion of the sushi restaurant.

* “Dental Malpractice” – I’m sure the receptionist answering the phone at this office knew it was a prank, but she doesn’t let on.

* “Sol’s Glasses” – The character of Sol can’t see goddammit, and wants new glasses. One problem – he’s not on file. He manages to keep them on the call for 3 minutes without cracking up!

Of the 21 tracks of obscene, juvenile humour, most of these are winners.  Even though I’m supposed to be a grown man, I still laughed upon hearing “The Home Wrecker”.  “Jocko Johnson” has split up with his wife and he wants to hire someone to tear her goddamn house down!  I still find it amazing that people didn’t just hang up, proving there’s a fool born every minute.  Same with “Super Across the Way”.  As soon as somebody says, “Look jerky, I don’t need to talk to you!” I would be hanging up!  But in New York (where the Jerky Boys are from) perhaps that’s just not the way.

Most tracks are from 1-3 minutes in length, and have a respectable laugh-per-minute ratio.

4/5 stars

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27 comments

  1. Thanks for posting. This brought back some good memories. I think right around the time Howard Stern started getting broadcast in Canada. If you like these guys, check out Emails from an Asshole. Not audio of course but I promise you will laugh at some of these emails.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Will do Brian!

      Glad you enjoyed this and I hope you enjoy the next two! Tomorrow’s may be relevant considering the trailer we just saw on the weekend for The Simpsons Guy crossover episode. Think Bart teaching Stewie how to make prank calls.

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      1. Good to know – I don’t think I’ve seen it since 1996 or so when it was on TMN, my only memories of the movie are Alan Arkin yelling & Ozzy exclaiming the f’n Monkees???

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  2. My friends & I had gotten a poor-sounding bootleg of the original Jerky Boys tape before they had a name about a year or two prior to the album’s release. I remember listening to that tape dozens of times during a road trip from New York to Virginia Beach and thinking it was the funniest thing I had ever heard. By the time the album came out I was a little less passionate about them but it still made me laugh, and it was cool to know that the mainstream was getting to hear this stuff.

    Sol Rosenberg was always my favorite character, and I think it’s awesome that Johnny Brennan basically recreated that character as Mort on Family Guy. I still occasionally refer to a couple of my friends as “jerky” and we tell ourselves that we’re going to “rap your head in with a f**kin’ ratchet,” so their influence continues 20+ years later.

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    1. Good call Rich, I had totally forgotten about Mort Goldman! I guess Mort has become such a character on his own, that I forgot it was Johnny B.

      This is cool that you were aware of this stuff before it was released and hit mainstream. Therefore I’m thinking/hoping that you are also familiar with tomorrow’s CD. I’m sure you will be.

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  3. Sarca! SEEECRETS: (Cue dark room, spotlight and mysterious music)
    The prank call stunts have always made me feel uncomfortable listening to them. Obviously I have a sense of humour, but I guess I am just sensitive to making the unsuspecting person on the other end become the butt of someone’s jokes. I have never been able to get past it to enjoy the comedy. Kevin likes this stuff – Howard Stern’s posse does this too and it’s quite professional how it’s done, and kudos on production value. Just not something I have ever found funny. (takes a drag from a smoke, fade to black)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Initially, I thought it was a “dudes thing”, but then I met some girls who enjoy the humour, so I was wrong about that. It’s must just be a personality thing. I just don’t like them.

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    1. Nice exit Sarca :)

      Probably because I used to do calls, I feel no discomfort. But humour is largely personal anyway.

      When I was at the store I was the victim of a couple calls, not many. The only one that I was seriously offended by was a Rita MacNeil prank call. Eat-a-big-meal or whatever. People can make fun of me all they want, but don’t make fun of Rita for her size. That ain’t cool.

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      1. Agreed! She was an excellent singer! Very talented!

        My mom recounts her prank call experience whenever I ask her: There was one time in 69-70 when she was prank called repeatedly over the course of three nights – around the time of the Zodiac Killer. The caller would play creepy sitar music into the phone and breathe heavily. She was home alone with my older brother upstairs sleeping in his crib. Back then you had the rotary phones that all you had to do was click the receiver cradle a couple of times to get the operator. She said she was scared sh!tless, so the next time the call came in, she clicked the cradle and said, “Bell Canada, this is the caller you want…” The guy swore and hung up immediately; he never called again. She was fooling them – never called Bell. When she tells me this story, I get chills.

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        1. See that to me isn’t a prank call, that’s somebody being a jerk. Our pranks were usually pretty innocent. “Is your fridge running? Better go get it!” We pranked people saying we were Coca Cola and we wanted to know if they liked New Coke. But we sounded like kids and nobody ever believed us.

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  4. I had a buddy who had ths on CD and he laughed and laughed at it. I dunno, it didn’t do a whole lot for me. I guess my sense of humour comes from a different angle, is all. It just made me uncomfortable, I couldn’t imagine doing it to anyone.

    Somewhere in the archives I have a CD with Rollins and his buddies prank calling a phone sex line. It’s… exactly what you’d expect.

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    1. That’s cool, I knew this post would divide opinions and/or interest. I figure this might be a slow week, music wise. I don’t have a lot of music content this week.

      But as I continue this site I tend to want to do what others are doing — reviewing every disc in their collection. So this count.

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      1. Reviewing every disc in our collections? Ouch, if I did one post a day it would take me at least 25 years to complete that task…and that’s without buying anything new (as if THAT would ever happen). Nope, I’ll stick with my slow pace & let you guys wear yourselves out (haha).

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        1. One word: Backlog.

          Although I’m nearing the end of my backlogged reviews (which I polish and re-write anyway). When I do run out of the backlogged stuff, I’ll cut down to posting every other day. Even I can’t keep it up!

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  5. I didn’t get into these guys until the third CD, but then we all started calling each other rubberneck and liverneck like you and your friends did fruitcake.
    I actually heard a girl at work say she didn’t like Trailer Park Boys because “she doesn’t watch that stupid crap.” Personally, I love the stupid crap. Bring on the stupid crap!

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    1. Well dude, I’m glad you enjoy the stupid crap. If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s stupid crap!

      So just for you and the others who like this stuff, I’ll try to find some other comedy gold for future releases. I don’t own a lot of comedy CDs, but I do have some.

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