So-called cringe stand-up  comedy (jokes so dark or taboo that they make you cringe) is very difficult.

That is not to say that other forms of comedy are not difficult.  They are. What makes cringe comedy so difficult, however, is that it looks so easy.  It looks as if you can just take the stage, say a bunch of really of obnoxious things, and be hilarious. You cannot. There is a true art behind quality “cringe comedy”.  It is an art that many aspiring comics have dabbled in, but only a select few have really mastered.

Jim Norton is a veteran of this type of comedy, and one of the true masters. Norton has an uncanny ability to say really off-the-wall things, while never once coming across as pompous, hurtful, or malicious.  Regardless of topic, Norton always comes across as a super likable guy, delivering top notch material.

Nortons latest effort, a new MP3 standup comedy album called “No Baby For You” is no exception. The material was recorded in 2007 in Boston.

The album is a tad short, clocking in at only about 46 minutes and although there are a few bits  from Norton’s other specials, the majority of the material has not been available before.

Due to the delay between recording the album and its release to the public, there’s actually a short bit on this album that took me out of the routine and caused me to reminisce. It is a bit in which Norton mentions his longtime friend and fellow comic Patrice O’Neal.  O’Neal unfortunately passed away this past year, and he was easily one of my favorite working comics.  When Norton mentions his name, I actually spent the next few minutes thinking about how disappointing it was to realize that the world will never have another Patrice O’Neal comedy album. When I caught myself doing this, I had to rewind the track and listen again.

As for the actual album, Norton touches upon all of the usual subjects including sex, relationships, sex, racism, sex, religion — oh, and sex.

What sets this album apart from Norton’s previously released work is on this comedy mp3 album or CD Norton now has a girlfriend, and he makes no effort to hide how much he cares for her. This leads to one of my favorite jokes on the album – a bit where his girlfriend says that before they have unprotected sex, they should both be tested for STDs.  Norton responds that she shouldn’t patronize him, that they both know who the problem is. He tells her, “you go make Jell-O; I’ll get tested.”

This stand-up comedy album is solid; you will not be disappointed.

No Baby For You
Jim Norton
Stand-up Comedy CD or MP3
BSeenMedia 2012

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