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Tom Mabe

Revenge on the Telemarketers, Round Two – 2000 (Virgin)

Reviewed by Ken Burke

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CDs by Tom Mabe

Telephone prankster Tom Mabe returns with more comedic attacks on those intrusive, clueless telemarketers. Recording calls in his home-office, the jingle-writer from Louisville, Kentucky fends off sales pitches by portraying characters almost as obtuse as the callers.

As a drunken redneck, Mabe continually belches into the phone ("Low Self Esteem") while trash-talking a cowering fictitious son. Adopting a gay persona, he offers conjugal services to male prisoners as a charitable contribution ("Conjugal"). One character babbles obsessively about supplying his pit bull with Viagra ("Petey The Pit Bull"). An intoxicated felon demands beer from a phone salesman ("In Home Incarceration"), then quickly sobers up to inform the man's supervisor that his salesman has been stalking him.

Although Mabe works funny one-liners into his put-ons, the humor truly comes from the telemarketers. Many are drawn away from their marketing script into surreal conversations with Mabe's characters, compounding the lunacy. To their credit, some can be heard laughing. Most seem willing to go along with any amount of the comic's escalating nonsense just to get the sale. It is this subtext of greed and self-degradation that makes Mabe's pranks seem a little more real than those of the Jerky Boys, not to mention funnier.