Jim Norton is one of those comedians whose albums I’ve come to trust. You may find yourself wandering around the store and see a new CD from him in the COMEDY section. You can confidently buy it without giving it a preview listen. With Norton, you know he’s going to be on edge, you know he’s going to have a word or two for the idiots of the world (or, as he calls them, “goose eggs”), and you know he’s going to make you laugh. His latest, “Please Be Offended” does just that.
Despite the name of the album, as long as you have your sense of humor in tact and are willing to admit people do some really stupid things (even if you’re the guilty one), you’re not going to be offended. Unless you happen to think the Westboro Baptist Church is actually doing the work of God or you’re a pedophile who finds kids sexy (Something, it should be noted, Norton just can’t wrap his head around. The incessant questions alone guarantee he’ll never be accused of such a horrible crime).
It seems there are a lot of people in the public forum today screaming about the innumerable ways their rights are being violated and Privacy is the topic that has Norton screaming right back. A good chunk of the album addresses the subject but not in a way that seems heavy-handed or political. Where were the people demanding privacy when America was rooting through the trash of Tiger, Mel, and Arnold? And, just in case you have forgotten exactly what that garbage consisted of, Norton re-caps each situation perfectly. The result is bitingly funny.
We’ve all had friends who posted the quote by Ben Franklin on their Facebook wall about our privacy being violated and Norton has a few choice words in response (including a blunt invitation to fornicate Mr. Franklin). Times have changed and Ben only had to worry about his kite crashing down in the storm, not a plane full of innocent people plunging on top of him as well. There’s also a little something for those complaining about the full-body scans at the airport. You don’t want those scans of your body on the internet? How full of yourself do you have to be to even think people would want to look at that? Sit down and shut up.
Norton may step on a few toes along the way, but they’re usually toes that deserve to be stomped upon. He can’t fathom why the people who wanted to put a mosque at Ground Zero couldn’t understand why it might upset people (simply put, there’s a difference between a mosque and a strip club) and if you didn’t think he’d have something to say about the Penn State...”horseplay”...then you don’t know Norton very well.
This CD is exactly what a comedy CD should be and Norton does his job well. He takes the things people are yelling about the most and puts them all back into perspective. It’s easy to get lost in the heated and passionate discussions filling the airwaves and Norton serves as a nice counter to the talking (or, more accurately, yelling) heads flooding our ears. If I’m going to listen to someone who’s frustrated, emotional, and slightly perturbed, I’m going to listen to someone who can also make me laugh. Jim Norton is that man.