Review: Jim Norton “Despicable”
This is Norton’s third album, and out of a total twenty seven tracks on the album (each bit moves pretty quick) fifteen tracks contain a word in the title that if this wasn’t the internet, would get me in trouble. So it’s safe to say Jim Norton isn’t planning on doing any Disney Channel specials anytime soon.
That being said if you are looking for a crude comedian who doesn’t disappoint Norton is as reliable as a Trojan condom. And no that wasn’t a reference to him kind of looking like a penis, though the resemblance is there…just saying.
Despicable continues the true to form comedy that Norton built his success on, lots of cursing, raunchy material, and boundary pushing topics. However, what makes the material successful is that amidst all of the vulgarity, it’s Norton’s nerdy innocence that makes it all likable. His unsureness about himself and his acceptance of inferiority makes the tidal wave of profanity from his mouth come out endearing instead of abrasive.
A lot of the vulgarity and shock comedy is derived from stories of wanting to rape a penguin, filming people committing suicide from the Golden Gate Bridge, or gross out tales (like a woman who was so fat and lazy she fused to the couch).
What stands out more however is Norton’s sincerity and adept storytelling when it came to his personal stories. An avid autograph collector, his bit about meeting Laura Bush and getting her autograph was interesting and possibly his least vulgar (which is still pretty filthy). Similarly, his story about meeting porn legend Ron Jeremy was told with the authentic enthusiasm of a fan meeting his idol and not just an excuse to tell some big dick jokes (which he does do).
In fact the moments of the album that I was most annoyed with was when Norton strayed away from his engrossing story telling and just devolved into the occasional deluge of profanity or “cutesy” words to contrast the swearing.
Despicable is an incredibly solid album provided you are not the easily offended type. At age 42 this is an incredibly pivotal album for Norton. No longer the young comedian who can gross out audiences, I am actually impressed with his ability to be charming and endearing and not rely on gross out and swear words entirely. Just don’t expect him to stop doing it anytime soon.