Paul Nardizzi has a Boston accent thicker than stew, and combined with his world-weary delivery he just drips sarcasm. A staple of the New England comedy scene, Nardizzi has also written a few humor books including 602 Reasons to Be Pissed Off and 602 Reasons to Be Ticked Off. If you’re familiar with those, you’ll recognize that the quick quips and brief bits approximate the pace of his live performances, most recently captured on his second CD, Turducken.
Very rarely is there a set-up over a sentence long – Nardizzi drops a quick line and then just pounds it with several punch lines stacked up one after another. Not every line works, but he’s got more punch lines per premise than most other comics. Combine the cadence of a Henny Youngman with the attitude of Larry Reeb, another comic who balances self-deprecation with a piercing intolerance of other people’s faults. In other words, we’re all idiots.
Like his first CD, Turducken is a mix of routines, although this time they were taken from different shows (sound quality is noticeably different on some tracks). Some of the material is repeated between the two albums, but modified with enough changes to warrant having both. While both use observational humor as launching pads, Turducken is probably the more offensive of the two for the sensitive listener. It contains more gay and racial humor than the first, yet his riff on gay marriage is a fresh angle and hilariously funny.
Most of his material just mines the familiar, like sports, marriage and kids, strange food, traffic and jobs, so the audience is on board immediately. Who hasn’t followed Mapquest into a cow pasture miles from the intended target, or wondered if explosive diarrhea and impotence wasn’t quite the trade-off you wanted when you used that anti-baldness cream? And if you don’t laugh at a joke, give him ten seconds…because another one is coming.
Both CDs from Nardizzi feature strange titles and related but disturbing artwork that does make sense once you’ve heard the albums…although the Turducken image might haunt me for a bit. But I doubt Paul is targeting the display at Wal-Mart as his brilliant marketing plan, anyway.
Paul has a live DVD, two CDs and copies of his books available at his website.