Joel Levinson and his big brother, Stephen, hope the love story from the perspective of the common cold that rock goddess Aimee Mann sings on their new comedy album “2776” will leave you in stitches.
If it doesn’t, the album has 27 other songs from 82 musicians, actors, journalists and comedians, including
Ashanti, Patton Oswalt, Neko Case, Mayim Bialik, Bobcat Goldthwait, Yo La Tengo, Dick Gregory, Reggie Watts, Will Forte, Andy Richter, Ira Glass, Andrew W.K., Ed Helms, Margaret Cho, Dave Hill and Dick Cavett.
Yes, the Dayton natives got both Cavett and Goldthwait to lend their talents to the monster of an America-themed, satirical album released just in time for the Fourth of July.
“We grew up loving the Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America. This is our version of that,” Joel Levinson said. “It is basically borne out of us trying to make each other laugh on the phone and through emails and stuff like that.”
Now based in Los Angeles, the graduates of Dayton’s Hillel Academy and sons of “Dayton Daily News” reporter Meredith Moss and retired attorney James Levinson partnered on the album with of Rob Kutner, a writer for the Conan O’Brien’s TBS show.
That could happen.
Described as proceeds for the album benefit OneKid OneWorld.
Joel Levinson, 33, said the performers were eager to help the charity that aims to provide a foundation for education to children in impoverished communities in Kenya and El Salvador through the album.
He said it was also a good opportunity for him, his brother and Kutner to exercise their writing chops.
“It is the biggest chance we have for people to hear our comedy,” Levinson said of the album which jokingly celebrates the 1,000th anniversary of America. “It is the story of America’s past, present and miserable sci-fi future as told through comedy, songs and sketches and silliness.”
Dayton-area native Dan Haug, DJ Ruckus Roboticus, produced and arranged two songs on the album: “Escape from New York” and “Journey to Anywhen.”
Stephen Levinson called the album a dream. He said he was a fan of many of the artists who appear on the album.
“It was just an amazing experience,” he said of working with performers including Goldthwait.
The comic known for his over-the-top voice was paied with sweet sounding singer Sally Timms.
They sing the duet Mole Lotta Love, a song about a woman that falls for a sewer dwelling mutant.
He said the album is the result of hard work and tenacity. It took 17 months to compete.
“Joel and I are ‘nobodies’ and Rob isn’t that much of a ‘somebody.’ We didn’t have a label behind us. We didn’t have a network behind us. We didn’t have a comedy website behind us,” the 41-year-old said. “It was just us. It started off in Joel’s garage with us just asking people to give a little of their time to make this crazy project.”
Thus far, the album has been written about in GQ magazine. Twenty-eight artworks made for the album’s songs will be posted on the comedy website Funnyordie.com. Liner Notes George Saunders wrote for the album appeared in the June 23rd issue of “The New Yorker magazine.”
Joel Levinson said the biggest challenge was getting emails for the artist who perform on the album.
“It was just a matter of having the chutzpah to write to people. It is kind of like dating,” he said.