Rutgers is the breeding ground for a variety of things — fat sandwiches, scientific findings and comedians. Comedians? Yes, you read that correctly.
Rutgers 2006 alum Ben Rosenfeld released a comedy album called “The Russian Optimist” and of course I had to give it a listen — laughing is in my DNA.
Rosenfeld has been featured on FOX’s Laughs, CBS This Morning, National Geographic’s Brain Games, NPR Weekend Edition and Rooftop Comedy just to name a few of his accomplishments.
I’m slapping myself right now because I had no idea this guy existed — I need to step up my comedian game. Well, the past is the past and now let’s cut to the chase.
The first track is called “Forced into Being a Nerd” and it was the perfect opener. He spoke about being forced into wearing glasses, which I’m sure most of us can relate to. I remember getting teary eyed when the doctor told me I needed glasses back in the day. Too bad this album wasn’t around back then, I really could've used a pick me up.
“I don’t know about you, but I have to wear glasses because contacts hurt my eyes, and the cops took my binoculars — now I can’t watch my neighbor’s HBO,” Rosenfeld said.
You can hear in the crowd losing it in the background of the track and it was barely a minute into the show. They must of tried spying on their neighbors with binoculars themselves — free cable, right?
Rosenfeld then went on to compare glasses to condoms. “It feels better without them.” That gave me a good, hearty chuckle — I'm sure we can all appreciate a good condom joke or sexual innuendo.
Throughout the album, he kind of gives off a vibe similar to someone you would see on Saturday Night Live morphed with someone giving genuine real-life experiences. The best kind of humor is the kind that is so relatable with your own life situations — you can’t help but laugh.
If you’re into Saturday Night Live you would definitely like this album and should order it off of Amazon. It was ranked #5 on Amazon’s Best Selling Comedy Albums after all.
Moving along to the fifth track called “My Russian Dad,” he pokes fun on his experiences growing up with his father’s transition into American life. He shared a memory about his dad getting pulled over by the police for speeding. In Russia, you're supposed to get out of the car and go to the cops, but obviously you can't do that in America without the police losing it.
While living in Connecticut, his father got out of the car and went up to the police. We can only imagine how that one could of ended.
Continuing with the story of his dad, on the ninth track called “No Childhood” Rosenfeld jokes about how he felt like a grown up when he was younger. That can hit close to home for some people, so might as well make a joke and laugh about it.
“Sometimes my dad would borrow money from me to pay my mom alimony, that’s right I was paying for my own child support,” Rosenfeld said.
Ah, there’s nothing like some divorce jokes to throw into the mix. Why be angry about it if you can put it on blast to make other people laugh? I like how this guy thinks.
With finals coming up, I would order this if I were you — you're going to need a laugh after studying and crying for five hours.