It’s not as if Harland Williams isn’t funny.
That’s really the tragedy of Williams’s new CD, Har-Larious, released on Comedy
Central Records. There’s proof out there that he can, with the proper material,
be a laugh riot. His cameo in There’s Something About Mary as a hitchhiker was
hysterical, he had solidly funny roles in Down Periscope and Half Baked, and,
while there’s no point in proclaiming it a lost comedy classic, his starring
turn in Rocket Man resulted in more than enough laughs to make it worth renting.
So why the hell is Har-Larious so cringe-inducingly awful?
And make no mistake about it: it is bad. The moments are few and far between
when Williams isn’t veering between two types of comedy: the surreal and the
profane. For an example of the former, look no further than the first few
seconds of the disc.
“Do I look a little tired to you, folks, huh?” he asks. “I didn’t get much sleep
last night. Do you ever have one of those nights, where you can’t sleep? I was
laying in bed for hours and staring at the room, so, finally, this is what I
did: I went over to Krispy Kreme Donuts, I got a couple of honey-glazed donuts,
stuck ‘em on my eyes, climbed up in a pine tree, and pretended I was an owl for
45 minutes. Just up there hooting for 45 minutes. ‘Hoot, hoot!’ Got tired, fell
out of the tree, hit my head on the cement, and went right to sleep.”
For the profanity, it pretty well sums up the lowbrow nature of a lot of the
jokes when he poses the question, “If a chick’s wearing a thong and she
accidentally shits her pants, does that cut it right in two?” Not that there’s
anything wrong with profanity, you understand. But dirty words don’t instantly
equal laughs, despite Williams’ attempts to make it so. He sounds particularly
forced when he asks, “Do you think dyslexic kids accidentally call (the
hamburger chain Fuddrucker’s) Motherfuckers?” Of course there’s humor to be had
in a name like Fuddrucker’s...but while it would’ve been funny if he’d said “Ruddfuckers,”
this way, it’s clearly just an excuse to reel off as many uses of the word
“motherfucker” in a short amount of time as possible.
Oh, yeah, and if you were wondering about those aforementioned moments when he’s
not being overtly bizarre or cursing up a blue streak...? Those come when he’s
talking to the audience. At one point, he discovers that an entire row of the
comedy club is filled by folks who work for Arby’s. “Who’s running Arby’s
tonight?!?” he asks, in mock horror. “The place is being looted right now!
There’s roast beef and Horsey Sauce going right out the window...!” Now that’s
funny...unlike, say, his repeated attempts to get a laugh by pronouncing
“Al-Queda” as “al-kway-da.”
Too bad Williams doesn’t stick with his undeniable ability to ad-lib rather than
his pre-written material; if he had, Har-Larious might be worth recommending.