In the past year, there’s been a great flux of comedic output: new cable shows, recently launched broadband shows and channels, live-performance CDs and stand-up- comedy-concert DVDs abound. So it’s no wonder that without regular appearances on late-night television or on a prime-time sitcom, Norm Macdonald may have slipped from the front of comedy fans’ collective mind.
But make no mistake: Macdonald hasn’t abandoned his roots, especially those of stand-up comedy, which he began planting 18 years ago in his native Quebec. He still performs consistently across the country and his comedy is as relevant as ever.
And although stand-up comedy is what would eventually lead Norm to a gig in front of the cameras of Saturday Night Live in 1994 (when he began anchoring “Weekend Update”), we all know that his sketch work is how he became a comedy star. And that’s exactly where MacdonaldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s new album, Ridiculous picks up.
Much in the same vein of Adam Sandler’s first three sketch albums, Macdonald delivers an evenly entertaining and hilarious collection of skits, replete with recurring characters and plenty of familiar voices for those characters: Will Ferrell’s, Tim Meadows’, and Artie Lange’s to name a few.
Produced by Brooks Arthur (Sandler’s go-to album guy), Ridiculous finds Macdonald, in nearly 90 minutes of material, airing out the way he never could on SNL or in his movies or defunct sitcoms. The 42-year-old comic has the incredible ability to take potentially inflammatory comedy subjects and yank out the humor in such a man-childish way that it’s difficult to get offended. That’s not to say this is an album jammed with vanilla musings. It’s not.
Four of the 13 tracks on the album are extended gay jokes: one about an old country singer who comes out of hiding and then out of the closet; the other, in three parts, has Ferrell’s character — who for some odd reason, sounds like Will’s famous Harry Caray impression — as the world’s first bottom in a gay relationship. The latter bit is pretty much an excuse to have Ferrell scream absurd things at the top of his lungs; still, it’s funny.
SNL alum Molly Shannon makes an appearance on “Girls, Girls, Girls,” playing a schizophrenic patient to Norm’s psychiatrist character. The good doc takes an interest in Shannon’s personality named Leesha, who exclaims, “I just want to be fucked! I want his cock in my mouth, and I want to lick his ass.”
The album’s rounded out by a not-so-hidden track of Macdonald’s stand-up, an older bit he does about Star Search. The track is preceded by Norm in the studio disclaiming the bit as “lame” and “outdated.” Clearly, though, it’s just the comic covering his ass in case people hate it. But the bit is solid. And so is the rest of the album.