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Featured DVD Review: Norm MacDonald: Me Doing Stand-Up

June 12th, 2011

Norm MacDonald: Me Doing Stand-Up - Buy from Amazon

Norm MacDonald first came to prominence in 1991 when he joined Saturday Night Live, but before that he had been a stand-up comic for quite some time. Earlier this year he returned to TV with Sports Show with Norm MacDonald, which airs on Comedy Central. He also has a stand-up concert special that aired around the same time as his new show debuted. Now that special is being released on DVD.

The Set

Norm MacDonald has been doing stand-up for more than two decades now, and it shows. There's no nervous energy in his performance and his trademark calm and bemused manner comes through regardless of the subject matter, to great effect. The other part of his experience that shines through is his subject matter. He is closing in on 50, so it should not be too surprising that he starts off his set with the subject of death. Bits on how we are scared of the wrong things, or how we are overly dramatic in our language of dying. He also spends a lot of time dealing with news, which harkens back to his days anchoring the Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live.

There's an extended bit about Janice, a hypothetical missing lady, which the 24-hour news networks tend to obsess over. It starts out as a critique of the media, but moves into a creepy place. Fortunately, Norm MacDonald delivery keeps the mood light. The same is true of his discussion of alcohol. On the other hand, not every bit is a hit and there are a few bit that miss or overstay their welcome, mostly in the middle of the hour-long set. But for the most part, he is on target.

It's not an exceptional performance, but a solid one that generates more than enough laughs to be worth checking out.

The Extras

Extras start with the pilot episode to Back to Norm, which is a sketch comedy show that was made several years back, but wasn't picked up. Sometimes it's hard to judge a show by its pilot, but it's hit or miss ratio is not good. Rob Schneider has an appearance in the longest of the sketches, but sadly it was a three-minute idea stretched too far. The next extra is a cartoon called The Twelve Days of Christmas. It's an abridged version of the classic Christmas song with Norm calling his wife in reaction to the various gifts. It's the funniest of the three extras. It's also the shortest at just four minutes long. Finally, there's Norm MacDonald's segment from the Bob Saget Roast, which I previously reviewed.

The Verdict

If you are a fan of Norm MacDonald's style of stand-up or a fan of his work on Saturday Night Live, then Me Doing Stand-Up is worth picking up. If you are fan of stand-up comedy in general, it's at least worth a rental.

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