Thursday, December 17, 2015

Applause! Applause! Review of Ben Rosenfeld's new digital comedy album The Russian Optimist by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of Ben Rosenfeld's second comedy album entitled The Russian Optimist was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

The Russian Optimist (Digital Album)
Written & Performed by Ben Rosenfeld
Recorded Live on October 24, 2015
New York Comedy Club
Copyright: 2016 Ben Rosenfeld
Total Length: 1:09:56
Reviewed 12/17/15 

Ben Rosenfeld, an up-and-coming comic, uses his own life as an immigrant Russian Jew living in New York as source
 material for his new digital comedy album entitled The Russian Optimist. The album contains 34 tracks and hundreds of hilarious jokes and stories. I highly recommend it! 

The digital album was almost called Seven Minutes Of Semen, but he was concerned people would get the wrong impression about what it contained. We learn about that and the fact that Ben's chances of getting prostate cancer are zero in the segment entitled "Is Monogamy Natural?" It is hard to imagine Ben having sex because he intentionally comes across more as a Nerd than as a source of sexual stimulation. Nevertheless, he assures us in "Nerds vs. Dorks" that "Nerds have girlfriends while Dorks have inflatable dolls." On the first cut entitled "Forced Into Being A Nerd," he explains that being Russian, he had few choices. The options were "astrophysicist or human trafficker" because Russians are usually good at "math or murder." He wears eyeglasses because he says contact lenses hurt his eyes "plus the cops took his binoculars." So just as many Nerds do, he wears black-horn-rimmed eyeglasses, which he calls "face condoms" "because it feels so much better without them, but it's too risky." So yes, he practices "Safe Sight."   

In "Boris The Samurai," he explains his parents named him Boris, which is Russian for warrior. He changed his name to Benjamin, which in Hebrew means "son of my right hand" so he went from "samurai to semen" and from "ninja to napkin." In "An Egyptian Love Story," we learn his parents got divorced when he was young. ("They married newer immigrants (his mom married an Egyptian) because they needed someone to do all the household jobs they didn't want to do. They basically in-housed out-sourcing.") More stories about his parents are contained in "My Russian Dad." "Dad's Bedtime Stories," "My Russian Mom," and "No Childhood." In "Jewish Football," Ben explains he was good knocking down the other team's "Hail Mary" throws because he "didn't believe in them," but that in four years, he never caught a ball "because he couldn't touch the pigskin."

Ben calls his native Russia "Evil Canada." Like Canada, it is a "cold country full of drunk hockey players" but "while Canada has Universal Health Care," Russia has universal Don't Care." In the track entitled "How Russia Views Gay People," he explains that according to the Russian government there are no gay people in the country. There are only "men who made bad choices" and for that, they may be prosecuted for trespassing, breaking & entering, or tailgating ("You shouldn't have put that thing there."). In "A Date With Anne Frank," he mentioned that Russia is so anti-Semitic his grandparents moved from Russia to Germany in the 1990s. Supposedly Germany told Russian Jews they were "sorry for what happened, asked them to come back, and even offered to send a train to pick them up." The track is so named because Ben said he went out on a date with a woman who claimed to work at the Anne Frank Museum in Manhattan ("you may not have heard of it because it is hidden in the attic of another museum"). Her on-line dating profile said, 'if you are Jewish, and like adventure, you should e-mail me," which Ben said he was pretty sure was "Hitler's pitch."

More Russian stories are addressed in "Russian Road Rage," "The Russian Optimist,""Russia, Israel & American Terrorists," and "Russian Jeopardy." He tackles America in "Why Congress Is Useless," "Citizenship Test," "Americans Are Spoiled" (and when he says "Americans," he means "White People"), "The Meth Model," and "America Runs On Fear." The topic of "love" and "girlfriends" are addressed in "Wedding Weigh-In," "True Love" (his girlfriend is "a true New Yorker who can cut a line of cocaine with two Metro Cards and snort it with a Parking Ticket"), "Teeth Grinding," "Talking In Bed," "The One," "The Museum Of Sex," "Antidepressant Dating," "Sleep Interrogation," "A Zipcar Relationship" ("even though other men will have used the Unzipped Girl before, it would still be a tight ride"), "Overcompensating," and "Older Women." Regarding dating, Ben says, "I would rather invest in myself than in a relationship because I've outlasted every relationship I've been in."

Finally, in "Pre-War Buildings," he tells the story about how his friend was bragging about living in a Pre-War Building, but as Ben points out, "If you are properly pessimistic, all buildings are pre-war. Somewhere, there's a future dictator getting rejected from art school." 

Ben Rosenfeld was born in a country that no longer exists (the USSR) and in a city that has since changed its name (Leningrad). His family emigrated from Russia (with its cold winters) to "another frozen tundra, untouched by human kindness, Connecticut." He graduated Rutgers University with a double major in Philosophy and Economics, so he "knows how to make money," but "just doesn't see the point." After college, he began his corporate career as a Fortune 500 management consultant while moonlighting as a stand-up comic. After three years at Accenture, Ben entered a fully-funded Ph.D. program in Neuroeconomics at California Technical Institute (CalTech), "a school which boasts 31 Nobel Prize laureates and 0 HBO Comedy Specials." He quit grad school to dedicate full time to stand-up comedy. ("After all, while many people can name the actors on The Big Bang Theory, very few can name the scientists who actually came up with The Big Bang Theory.") Soon after quitting, Ben created the motivational seminar and e-book How To Find Your Passion, which guides high school and college students towards their future career path. 

Ben has appeared on FOX's Laughs, CBS This Morning, National Geographic's Brain Games, FOX's The Wendy Williams Show, TruTV's All Worked Up, The Weather Channel, and Rooftop Comedy. He has twice headlined at Caroline's on Broadway and performs nightly in New York City. His first comedy album, Neuro Comedy, is available on iTunes and Pandora. Ben also is the creator of the illustrated coffee table book, Russian Optimism: Dark Nursery Rhymes To Cheer You Right Up, an Amazon Top 5 Seller in Humor. Ben also writes, directs, and edits short films and videos, which can be found at 

Ben Rosenfeld offers "Smarter Comedy For Smarter People." He is a rising star on the comedy circuit! He has an extremely promising career ahead of him in the entertainment field. Be one of the first to "discover" him. His new digital comedy album, The Russian Optimist, will be released on iTunes ($9.99), Google Play, Amazon ($8.99), Spotify and all other digital retailers and streaming sites on January 1, 2016. If you found some of his jokes funny and/or insightful, you will totally enjoy this new digital comedy album. Start off the new year with an explosion of laughter. Ben promises "it will help you cure your hangover...or make you wish you were still drunk." 

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