Keith Lowell Jensen doesn’t have a big Comedy Central special or DVD release, but his perplexingly titled stand-up routine Cats Made of Rabbits is every bit as deserving of your laughter as one by Jim Gaffigan or Louis C.K. He’s a very mild personality but his sense of humor and his delivery let his punch lines sneak up on you, consequently his routine feels fresh and elicits more than its share of belly laughs. For the most part, his comedy tends towards the basic observational comedy with plenty of stories and anecdotes, but at a certain point they take very strange turns and end up with laughs resulting from vagina trees and stuffed rabbits made to look like cats. If it sounds weird, that’s because it is, but his personality is so unassuming and subdued that you just don’t expect it from him and he uses that to his advantage.
A large portion of his routine banks on his new found responsibilities as a supposedly mindful human being acting as a husband, father, and uncle. Whether that means he’s changing his stance on pedophile jokes or bemoaning the existence of the postnatal sex hiatus his wife was on, it invariably leads to places you just don’t expect. Did you know that a woman isn’t supposed to have sex for six to eight weeks after giving birth? No? Neither did Keith, but he does now, and when he found out his mind tried to find any context for that time period he could. Where his mind ended up isn’t where most people’s would, but in its own strange way it makes its own kind of sense. While moments like those in his stand-up are great, the laugh-out-loud points come when he relates a moment of his simultaneous failing and fulfilling of certain stereotypes. How do you explain a grown man on a small bicycle trailing a swarm of 11-year-olds into the woods? The gated community his nephew lives in probably wasn’t thrilled to see that, but if they heard the tangent that story inspires, they’d probably put a restraining order out on Keith. Luckily for us, whose kids weren’t involved, it’s pretty funny.
His anecdotes on being an adult are funny, but it’s his commentary on American culture that will really get you. For some, it might start to get kind of preachy when he launches into his schtick on atheism and the unique aspect of American culture that has led a segment of its population to deny evolution in ways that even the Catholic Church has come to terms with. Once again, though, in his effort to discuss the topic his argument takes a turn for the weird and he makes an argument based on penises and what it suggests about God’s mental state. It’s a funny bit that helps to steer him back into less soapbox-ish territory. Then there’s the American approach to drugs and how stupid we’ve been in the past in how we’ve fought our drug problem. “Just Say ‘No’”, the overly simplistic motto adopted to deal with the problem and which gained widespread use for the 80s and then lingered unnaturally long afterwards.
It’s his penchant for the strange that sets Keith apart from the rest, because otherwise observation and his social standing would make him just another voice in the crowd. His embrace of weird subject matter to build upon as the foundation of his routine makes him stand out, but in a good way. It can get really tiring to hear people talk about very basic social morays, and so when a comedian jumps from “Good Old Days” to awkward youth to dreams about having sex with a tree where knotholes are replaced with vaginas, you have to at least take notice. If that leads to comedians with messages about ducks being rapists rising in popularity, then so much the better.