You probably know Norm Macdonald best as the Weekend Update anchor and Quentin Tarantino / Burt Reynolds / Bob Dole impersonator on Saturday Night Live in the 90’s. And hopefully you’ve seen his film Dirty Work, his classic guest appearances on Conan’s various shows, his G-rated roast of Bob Saget, and his genius new show on Comedy Central Sports Show With Norm Macdonald. But for all those successes, Macdonald sure does love a good bomb now and again. See: the 2000 film Screwed.
But therein lies the beauty of Norm. The man is at his best when he has the avenue to dissect what he’s saying at the exact time he’s saying it. For someone that also likes to play poker, it’s a wonder he wins any money because his comedy hits when the tells are all over his face. But in that also lies a problem; trying to review just an audio recording of Norm Macdonald comedy. Although stand-up should be the perfect opportunity to get to know Norm Macdonald, you really can’t get to “know” Norm Macdonald just by hearing him talk.
The just released CD Me Doing Standup, his first stand-up comedy record, is basically a string of one-liners, a pause, and then you hear the audience laugh. The jokes range from topics like Tiger Woods to mortality, to homosexuality, to alcoholism with Macdonald saying things we’ve all at least thought even if briefly in passing. One example: murder. Initially he stated that he’d never murder someone and then posits, “I know I say that now, I don’t really know. I can’t predict the future.” See: Nicolas Cage in Con Air. Even with those shining moments though, you still end up feeling like you’re missing something and everybody’s in on it but you. But that’s what makes MacDonald so brilliant; he’s a one-man Kennedy/Nixon debate. If you saw this exact same routine on television, Macdonald wins. If you only heard the album, then Nixon wins. So thanks for Vietnam, Norm Macdonald.
But, you’re in luck. There’s a DVD as well! So ultimately this is a four-paragraph review telling you to get the DVD instead of the CD. Although the CD does come with more content, the DVD contains deleted scenes that didn’t air originally on the Comedy Central special – his segment from the before mentioned Bob Saget roast, the pilot from his sitcom Back To Norm. Though the CD is doesn’t pull off the complete experience, Me Doing Standup the DVD is quite an impressive debut for someone who should have been churning these things out for years. Norm Macdonald is one of the funniest comedians out right now and it comes so effortlessly that he probably doesn’t even need to write jokes to prove it.