Beyond providing affirmation that he’s extremely funny, Tim Slagle’s newest CD, Europa, proves that the stand-up comedian is mighty bright, too. Listeners may not always agree with Slagle’s views on politics or social mores, but you have to respect the fact that he’s willing to say what he does — and in such an unapologetic way.
Slagle’s comedy has edge. He rants about prostitution, abortion and a woman’s right to choose with utter confidence. He also has a particularly scathing yet honest review of European culture that will leave you rolling with laughter while you think to yourself, Did he actually just say that?
Slagle displays a knack for dry sarcasm and social awareness, especially on “Cartoons,” when he complains about political correctness and oversensitivity in our culture: “Cartoon Network is holding back Speedy Gonzalez episodes,” he says, “because they don’t want to offend the Mexican-American community. Because, you know, it reinforces that fast-Mexican stereotype.”
Clearly, astute social observation is Slagle’s strength. So it makes sense that he struggles a bit when he takes aim at hackneyed topics like Viagra and smoking weed. Armed with a unique mind, he’s wasting his own time as well as the audience’s by discussing things that every other comedian seems to talk about.
But even at his weakest, Slagle deftly turns it around. After a not-particularly-funny bit on marijuana, he segues into a routine about gateway drugs, saying that he can prove that milk is a gateway drug for heroin users. By using humor to call junk science and bogus statistics into question, Slagle injects life into commonplace subject matter.
But the entire album is not laced with heavy topics. Slagle lightly quips that a “hangover is just the body’s way of saying you shouldn’t have stopped drinking.” He also doesn’t mind going long on trailer parks and the “C-word.”
The bottom line is that Europa is partly educational, primarily humorous and undoubtedly brave — exactly what most good comedy should be.