Jared Jeffries, a 2007 Ball State alum, joined Chicago comedians Peyton Brown and Timothy Joyce to create a vinyl comedy album. Jeffries and Brown have been working on the album, titled “A Gift You Didn’t Ask for from Friends You Never Had,” for the past four years. Jared Jeffries // Photo Provided
Alumnus creates vinyl comedy album
Jared Jeffries, a Ball State graduate from the Class of 2007, teamed up with fellow Chicago comedians Peyton Brown and Timothy Joyce to create a comedy album that will be released only on vinyl.
The album, “A Gift You Didn’t Ask for from Friends You Never Had,” is similar to watching an improv show because the several loosely connected pieces flow from one piece into the next. It took four years to write and produce, and is currently available for pre-order on Kickstarter.
“It’s not one whole narrative, but it kind of glides from one piece into the next. It’s kind of like a trip … a bunch of things that kind of connect to each other," Brown said. "It’s not like much else — there isn’t really anything to compare it to that people are doing these days … which is something that we’re modestly proud of, but it also makes it very difficult to explain.”
Special guests on the album include:
Lindsey Smith (CIC, iO Theater)
Emma Pope (Second City TourCo)
Jeff Rukes (iO, Sunjacket)
Gary Richardson (Don't Think Twice)
John Reynolds (Stranger Things, Search Party)
Jeff Murdoch (Second City TourCo)
Gabriel Morrison (iO, Big Hot Dog)
Paul Jurewicz (Second City MainStage)
Annie Donley (Annoyance)
Jeffries and Brown, who have known each other for eight years and have worked together as improvisors, began work on the album four years ago while working on a sketch show, and didn’t know at first that it would evolve into a comedy album.
After buying a record for a dollar with “the worst cover I’d ever seen,” Jefferies listened to it, brought it to Peyton, and realized their show should be a vinyl record to make it something special.
“As we worked on it more and more, we decided that it should be an audio-only thing and we were big fans of comedy records, the things people don’t make anymore,” Brown said. “Being the nerds that we are, we also decided that we were going to press it on vinyl.”
Jeffries said the album could be confusing at first, but it was made that way so the listener would listen to the record multiple times and find new things each time.
Sometimes, Jeffries and Brown would start talking back and forth with a tape recorder in between them. Some material was used before they knew an album would be made, and some material was written specifically for the album.
“We wanted it to be something that absolutely wouldn’t work as a stage show, wouldn’t work as a movie … we wanted it to be something that would only work as an LP,” Jeffries said. “The two most challenging parts of the entire process were writing and editing the recordings."
The record is meant to be listened to altogether, which is a contrast from the pause and play on-the-go lifestyle that has become normal.
“Because [people] are listening to things digitally, either on the phone or the computer, I think we have a tendency to break up our experience of that,” Brown said. “There’s nothing wrong with that, [but] this is a different way of experiencing [something], setting the record on a record player and listening … once you go through the trouble of putting it on, you want to sit there and listen to it.”
Two hundred and fifty initial copies of the record are being made in Europe, and Kickstarter is currently the only way to buy a copy. There is no official release date, but Jeffries and Brown hope the record company will have the records ready around March.
Brown’s favorite part of the experience is that when the records are in the United States, he is going to end up with a record of his own.
“I want everyone else to listen to it and have it, but I’m like, going to have this. I’ve been collecting records for 15 years. I’m going to actually have a record album with my voice on it and my writing on it sitting on my shelf. That’s a wonderful thing,” Brown said.