CD Review of Ridiculous by Norm MacDonald

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no starno starno starno starno star Label: Comedy Central Records
Released: 2006
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I've always liked Norm MacDonald, back to his days on “Saturday Night Live” – especially as host of Weekend Update. Colin Quinn famously replaced him, giving a nice tribute to MacDonald in his first Weekend Update segment. Norm's dry, sarcastic delivery always seemed to hit my funny bone. His merciless lambasting of Michael Jackson and O.J. Simpson not only indicted the two central pariahs of the 1990s entertainment world, but the media who gave them constant attention and also the people who followed the stories and were consumed by the inane plot twists in the lives of both losers.

But on this CD of mediocre, radio-style sketch comedy, he's just not funny. The premises hold promise: an NFL sportscaster who also happens to be a gambler does some play-by-play; what would happen if someone were actually given the gifts sung about in "The Twelve Days of Christmas; and the obligatory live standup track, a milieu where MacDonald cut his teeth before his “SNL” stint. But the stuff just doesn't work; it's pure tedium to play. It's downright embarrassing to hear such pat material from a once-talented comedic outsider. One has to think guests Will Ferrell, Jon Lovitz, Tim Meadows, and Molly Shannon are regretting ever agreeing to lend their voices to the project.

Most embarrassing of all are MacDonald's running homophobic gags about the world's first two gay guys (by the way, you can't really tell if he's actually homophobic, it's just so unfunny that it amounts to the same tiresome gay-bashing heard from many comedians) and "Tex Hooper," a 16-minute rambling bit about an old country/western singer coaxed out of retirement by a producer looking for a quick buck. The producer is appalled to learn Tex came out of the closet since his last record – and is writing vulgar songs about his newfound lifestyle. In the end, I was completely disappointed with MacDonald's work. I'd received the disc with anticipation. Perhaps I was even open to liking it if it wasn't quite as sharp as his previous material I'd enjoyed. Instead, this CD's already in my trash can.

~Mojo Flucke, PhD