The first time I heard about the new compilation album “It’s OK To...Do Stuff,” I was intrigued. Apparently it’s a send-up of a Marlo Thomas album that came out 40 years ago called “Free To Be...You and Me.” To be honest, I’d never heard of it. I looked it up online and checked it out and none of the songs rang a bell, so I started off this album at a bit of a disadvantage.
But then I read who appears on this new project and I got excited. Fred Willard! Eugene Mirman! Andy Richter, Wyatt Cenac, and Samantha Bee! Eddie Pepitone and Fred Stoller, holy crap! And Steven Page, a former lead singer of Barenaked Ladies! I was given a preview link where I could listen to one minute snippets of the songs and I was crazy stoked to hear more.
And then...I got the full album and realized those weren’t snippets I was listening to. Those were the tracks. Nine tracks clocking in at 11-1/2 minutes.
Only a minute and ten seconds of Fred Willard?
A mere forty-one seconds of Eddie Pepitone?
And two short lines from Andy Richter?
To say I was a bit crestfallen would be an understatement.
So much talent here and so poorly underused.
As it turns out, you don’t have to know or be a fan of the original to get what’s going on here. It’s basically a collection of very short, mostly poorly-sung songs that are overly-politically correct (or not) for comedic purposes. Considering how much of a huge comedy fan I am, it’s ironic that my favorite track is the lead song featuring BNL’s Steven Page (well...not from BNL anymore). It’s the only cut the feels like a “real” song and because he doesn’t have to worry about staying on pitch or being off-key singing harmonies with himself like other songs here, you can focus on the goofiness of the lyrics and enjoy it for what it is: a silly song.
There's a fun skit featuring Eugene Merman playing the role he was born to play: a robot with a tendency to shout every observation - I loved it - and what may very well be the most random duet that’s ever been brought together when Kimmy Gatewood and Colin Hanks (yes, that Colin Hanks) team up to sing about the upside of divorce. Sort of.
Despite the old adage, brevity is not the soul of wit when it comes to this album. In fact, brevity pretty much punches wit in the nuts. You get a taste of what could be, you feel Pepitone ramping up into something fun and you wonder when Willard is gonna really kick in and bring the funny and then....over.
The longest track here is a mere 1:40 and features six different performers. That only averages to about 20 seconds per person and the greedy fanboy in me wants more. Yes, as the album title says, it is indeed OK to do stuff. Next time, though, can you do it for a little longer?