Comedian looking forward to moving on to new material after live album recording

For the past two weeks, standup comic Dustin Meadows has been immersed in intense preparations for the live recording of his next album, which is slated to take place at MadLab on Thursday and Friday, April 6 and 7. In the lead-up to recording, Meadows performed on 10 straight nights, running through his complete, 45-minute set at five of the shows.

But, in a sense, the heaviest lifting actually started years ago. Meadows said he's been developing much of this material since 2013, and the recording will even include the first joke he ever wrote when he started doing comedy in 2008, midway through his time at Bowling Green State University.

“It's mostly stuff that's been tested, but up until a month ago it had never been put together [in a complete set],” said Meadows, who will share the MadLab bill with comedian Travis Irvine (Irvine will be recording a live album of his own at these shows). “I'm excited for it because … having [the album] recorded and physically done will put a torch under my ass to finally write new stuff. You have to push yourself to generate new material, and one of the best ways I can think to do that is to say, ‘Hey, here's everything I've been doing. I can't use this as a crutch now.'”

The album will be Meadows' second, following his 2014 release, Dustin Meadows Vs the World, which was recorded live in a single night at the Garden Theater in August 2013.

“[My first album] felt more a collage, like, ‘Here are all these great jokes I've written,' and they kind of just collided together,” Meadows said. “This set, I feel like I've arranged it, and the material fits better within the context of the big picture.”

In recent months, the comedian has refined the material with the care of a composer crafting a symphony, building in callbacks and emotional peaks, attempting to pull a thread through the material so it all feels of a similar piece. As in the past, many of the jokes are darker, rooted in self-deprecation, loneliness and the “sad bastard music” that acted as a salve in those pained moments. But it's also deeper and more introspective, offering a fuller picture of who Meadows is both as a comic and as a person — a line between which the comedian sees little demarcation.

“So much of my material is based on my experiences because no one shares those experiences with me,” Meadows said. “The best comedians are the ones that can find what's unique about them and channel it into something where [an audience] can find some kind of common ground and then laugh along with them.”