On their musical-comedy album Please Be Seated, Myq Kaplan and Micah Sherman mind-meld as a duo while demonstrating distinct, complementary personalities all their own. Kaplan, an alum of Last Comic Standing, verbosely sings about compulsive romantic overthinking on “What Kinda Jerk Do You Wanna Be?,” while Sherman, a veteran improviser at New York’s People’s Improv Theater, calmly admits to insecurity about his looks on “Movie Star.” The two support each other in song, effortlessly blending their erudite styles for the jovial Please Be Seated, which is as brainy as it is hooky.
The duo’s commitment to braininess ensures the songs shine, no matter how dated the material, such as on “Inonic,” a “timely” riff on how unironic Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic” is. (Kaplan jokes that the song came from a time, making it timely.) “It’s like rain, on a rainy day / It’s a free ride, in your own car,” they belt out, nailing complicated harmonies. The cerebral approach ensures “Comedians’ National Anthem” is a thorough breakdown of stand-up tropes, and that “Caveman Mousetrap” properly captures the thought process of our distant ancestors. Occasionally, Kaplan and Sherman’s shared issues peek through their cleverness: “Dr. Song Song” is a whimsical take on depression, and “Loss, Metaphorically” is somber, but involves sitting on one’s own balls. They share verses and neuroticism equally, and clearly like being onstage together, as evidenced by the sweet and funny “We’re Different (You Say Trouser Snake, I Say Schlong).”
Kaplan and Sherman’s natural chemistry isn’t just present in the music. The album kicks off with “Encore,” in which, after a misstep, the guys pretend their set’s over, and everything following is just bonus material. There are plenty of interstitial bits like that one, which let Kaplan and Sherman play off each other’s excitement at discovering, say, the pleasure of repeating “please be seated” after a song that clearly had nobody standing. This can lead to false starts, though, and at times the riffing wears thin as it delays the start of a song. But framed as bonus tracks, these off-the-cuff moments are more palatable. On “What Kinda Jerk Keeps Messing Up A Song?” Kaplan is unable to get the lyrics right, as Sherman jokingly gives him a hard time, which only makes Kaplan all the more eager to nail it—for himself, but for his scene partner as well.