Monday, December 10, 2012

Jim Norton's "No Baby For You"

When you’re as funny as Jim Norton, you’re always funny. Even though his new album, “No Baby For You,” was recorded five years ago everything about it still feels fresh. Besides a reference to the “offensive” cartoon of Mohammad (a bit that still holds up nicely) and a present-tense mention of comedian Patrice O’Neal, you’d never have an inkling that this performance has been sitting in the can for so long. Norton From Five Years Ago is just as funny as Norton From This Morning’s Opie & Anthony Show and this project is proof.

Those of you who are familiar with Norton and his comedy know you can’t come without expecting to hear some great rants about society and the people and situations that flip his switch. Sometimes all it takes is something as seemingly innocent as a buggy ride through Amish country to send Norton into the red. Sure, it may seem like he’s punching below the belt as he takes on targets like “invalids, retarded girls, and dead babies,” but nothing seems offensive or over the line when you’re laughing this hard.

Norton has his hand on the pulse of what irritates not just himself, but all of us, and when it comes to addressing pushy tourists, babies on planes, and those horrible “I’m gellin’” commercials, he sums up exactly what I feel in a way that brings out maximum humor. Hearing the audience lose it as Norton takes aim at these subjects is a pretty good sign that it’s not just him who’s fed up with horrible commercials, white guilt, and Muslims who, in all honesty, haven’t been handling things well.

Everything here is approached with the Norton-esque disgruntledness we’ve all come to expect and love, but it’s tempered a bit this time around with the presence of a woman in his life. His material on sex and everything related to it is just as explicitly blue as ever, but because he has someone to share his kinks with, it’s permeated with an air of - believe it or not - happiness. It’s different to hear Norton talk about her, genuinely happy in the relationship. It’s not a “bad” different, but interesting, and I think it makes him a bit more relatable.

Not that a girlfriend has softened him up or taken away the teeth of Norton’s comedy. Norton still likes it dirty and although he struggles with his self-image (from the waist up) and may not be the most sensuous person in bed (he compares sex with him to having a wisdom tooth pulled), he brings a trick or two to the table. True, they aren’t always successful, as evidenced by the move he learned from a masseuse who had a moniker that lands on the Sexy Name Scale between “Betty” and “leukemia.”

There are a few things that Norton’s girlfriend may not be crazy about him saying on stage about her (i.e. The soda can comparison of her previous boyfriend or details about her body) but it sounds like they’re having a good time. Since this was recorded five years ago I don’t know if Norton is still with the same girl, but regardless she brought out a fun side to his comedy that isn’t there with his bachelor-era comedy. It brings out another facet to Norton as a person and a comedian that one may not have seen before. This is another strong addition to your Jim Norton library and goes to show that when it’s good, there’s no expiration date on comedy.

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