Footprints on the Moon is one of the best comedy albums of the 2010’s. It was a turning point for Chad Daniels. He had been gaining momentum as a comic, and this album reached even more people and broke through to more mainstream audiences. It is a great blend of more classic stand-up styles, edgier punches, and the newer style that in favor of autobiography. His punchlines are a mix of silly, dark and grounded. Chad Daniel’s character on stage is that of a well reasoned dude-bro-father. He clearly, and comically explains his point of view, while never coming off as mean or punching down.
He talks about his family for most of the album, giving different takes on his children. He goes into explaining his relationship with his son first with a joke that sets up how much he loves his son, and how much his love for his son baffles him. This sets up the immensely relatable character of Daniels, that he clearly is a caring father, but also one that is dumbfounded by his children. One of the best jokes on the album is about Daniels finding a ruler on in his son’s bathroom. He confronts his son, by knocking on his door (with the ruler), and after telling the son that he found the ruler, his son’s response is “What about?! And then. NOOOAUGH” He never says exactly what he’s thinking to the son, but the face that they both react knowlying adds a layer to the joke. Additionally his ability to capture his son’s horror, and desire to avoid the situation with a simple impression is honest and silly.
Later he talks about her daughter. Opening this part with “She doesn’t like me to talk about her on stage, and I try to respect that, but there are some things she does that need to be told” and goes on to tell a story about interacting with a rude guy while watching The Lego Movie in theatres. The preamble here is a necessary part of the album, just letting the audience know that he’s been in conversation with his family about doing stand up about their lives. I don’t think Daniels ever crosses a line, or gives us uncomfortable details about his children’s lives, or makes his children seem like bad people, but still letting the audience know the kids are aware of the content of his stand up leaves one less question for us.
My favorite joke on the album comes towards the end, and is about Daniels going to an IHOP with his children. He had a credit card and the waiter tells him he needed an ID. He only had his passport and the waiter didn’t want to take it. This joke brings the album together, in that Daniels starts the jokes with punchlines of his own, “We have syrup fights, because IHOP is already at its maximum thickness– one time I had to chisel my son’s arm off the table with a butter knife” once the waiter is unwilling to take the passport as an ID, we hear this interaction Waiter: that’s an ID to travel around the world, the daughter goes “Isn’t this the International house of pancakes” which is a hilarious, and grounded retort to the waiter, that shows a clear sense of logic that only a child would have. Lastly the son has his moment after the waiter leaves, where after the waiter leaves he goes “Next time we have that guy as a waiter we should pay with two dollars bills and watch him shit his pants” Each different family member brings a different comedic point of view and tone to the joke, but it’s all cohesive because of Daniel’s delivery and understand of each kid. The various points of views on display in this joke make it so unique, and pack so much punch.
Daniels brings you into his family during this hour of comedy. He lets you know about all the awkward weird little stories that happened in his house. He tells us about his kid’s embarrassing moments, that we’ve been on at least one side of. His ablitlity to articulate and express with geniuly love feels so freeing, becuase we’ve all had those stupid moemnts from our childhood. It can feel really embarrassing, and this album reminds us that those moments are what make a family. He’s able to juxtapose his seriously, adult manner, with impression and memories of his children that creates something uniquely hilarious.