If you open your CD with a warning informing people that what they are about to hear is unlike anything they've ever experienced from a comedian, then you'd better have the material to back it up. That was the first thing I thought when I was listening to Matt Ward's "Glamorous." He further prepares us by stating he doesn't mess around with amateur topics like GPS units but instead plans to go for the jugular by breaching such scandalous, never-before-tackled themes like (brace yourself) moonshine (What?), cocaine (Gasp!), and rewarding lack of effort (Well, I never!).
Ward spends so much time building himself up as a way-over-the-line button-pusher, when he finally does start in on his act it's a bit of a letdown to find his bark was much worse than his bite. I feel pretty confident in saying this, as his project is peppered with awkward pauses and silences that hang in the air, lingering like an abandoned cobweb. Ward doesn't appear to be fazed by the small responses elicited by his jokes and he barrels on undaunted. Part of me feels his brash confidence is to be commended. Another part of me wonders if the confidence is warranted. He's like a Cubs fan in August taunting the Phillies.
I don't know a lot about Ward or how long he's been in the game, but at one point he comes down on "new" comics for making the grave error of asking a crowd if there are any pot smokers in the house. He does this, of course, after asking if there are any pot smokers in the house. It might be humorous if he was aware of the irony of the situation but I don't think he is. He's too busy chastising those amateurish young comics for daring to make such a mistake. As Ward stumbles through his set, tripping over his words and mixing up the lyrics to his own original songs, you can almost hear the pot leaving a voice mail for the kettle.
A couple of things Ward needs to work on are the metaphors and visual pictures he paints with his words. He's so worried about coming up with what he thinks is clever wordplay he shoots himself in the foot, reaching so far that the crowd is silenced into a puzzled state of suspended animation as they try to figure out what Ward is talking about.
On why you shouldn't buy meth in the South: "It's been stepped on more than an old man's ball sack." Huh? Why are people in the South stepping on either one?
On what people would say if someone showed up to a fight with shaved eyebrows: "Whoa, he looks faster and leaner. Or packing, I'm not sure what's going on there."
Listening to Ward doing what he thinks is crossing the line is quite entertaining simply because...well...At one point he dares to shock the crowd by confessing he's fine with marijuana but - believe it or not! - he boldly takes a stand by saying he is against doing cocaine. The audience (and I) just sit there in a stunned silence that screams, "Well yeah, no crap, we're against it, too. Most people are. Why would you think an anti-cocaine message would rile us up?"
At another point he mentions the fact that he knows a lot of famous people. But, of course, he's not going to drop any names because that would be douche-y. Insert your own comment here: ___________________________
The album ends with Ward playing a few songs that I'm sure he would like to think are reminiscent of Stephen Lynch, but neither his music nor his lyrics live up to the dream. "20 Year Old Poon," a tune he actually refers to as a "comedy song," is basically just Ward singing the title phrase over and over again. Call me a snob, but for me it's gonna take a little bit more than that.
A lot of the basic premises Ward tackles are fun ideas, but the execution is where he falls short. This project is an example of what happens if you focus on your stage persona and self-confidence more than your written material. To be blunt...it ain't glamorous.