Jon Benjamin Can't Play Piano, Made A Jazz Piano Album

He's Bob from Bob's Burgers. He's Archer from Archer. He's that can of creamed corn from Wet Hot American Summer. He's the owner of the perpetually put-upon, cranky voice on all your favorite shows—he's H. Jon Benjamin, and he can't play piano.

So, naturally, he released a jazz piano album on Friday, featuring him on  the keys. It's called Well, I Should Have...*, and it's officially credited to Jon Benjamin, Jazz Daredevil.

"We all start from the same place and build from there, gathering references, structures, techniques, modes, nuances, etc. and, as artists, we strive to build something purposeful," explains Benjamin on the album's product page on Sub Pop Records. "Well, I Should Have...* is the culmination of hours (almost 3) of conception with the goal to bring something, in the tradition of the great vanguard jazz artists like Miles Davis, Roach, Mingus, Monk, et al, close to pure spontaneity."

Benjamin recorded the album in collaboration (kinda?) with Scott Kreitzer, David Finck, and Jonathan Peretz on saxophone, bass, and drums, respectively, and all three of the actual jazz musicians may or may not have been in on the joke. That said, the mere fact that the album exists at all makes their feelings about the project pretty much beside the point.

Benjamin is one of the cult icons of comedy, the kind of guy who elevates just about any project he's involved in, regardless of his how big or how small his contributions happen to be. Anytime Benjamin shows up, chances are good you'll laugh at least once. Moreover, this kind of long-form, absurdist comedy isn't much of a surprise to those who've been following Benjamin's career.

Years ago in in New York, he and fellow comedian Jon Glaser performed a 20-minute, rambling, repetitive routine called "The Fuggedabuddies," all culminating a single punchline so stupid, so ridiculous, it kind of looped back in on itself to create something amazing. Benjamin's short-lived Comedy Central show Jon Benjamin Has a Van, managed to take that kind of insanity and inanity to new heights, creating a truly bizarre and memorable series—one that featured current Comedy Central star Nathan Fielder before he launched his own hit show, Nathan For You.

My point, roundabout though it may be, is that Well, I Should Have...* is simply the next evolution of Benjamin's commitment to the joke—a commitment that comes at the expense of logic or good sense, of course. As you can hear in the above promotional video for the album, Benjamin is definitely not kidding around about how terrible he is at playing the piano. And yet, somehow, someone being bad at music may never have sounded this good...

Well, okay. Maybe not that good. But I definitely laughed a bunch.

[Well, I Should Have...* on Sub Pop Records]