I happen to like Rob Schneider. He was funny on Saturday Night Live and many of his movies were equally enjoyable. The Deuce Bigalow movies, while no masterpieces, were consistently laughter-inducing. He’s not a groundbreaking comic genius, but he generally gets beat up by critics far more than he deserves. He now has a brand new comedy album, Registered Offender. Knowing that he performs stand-up in comedy clubs, but having never seen him, I was eager to hear what I hoped would be a recorded live performance.
That’s not exactly the case with Registered Offender. To better understand what kind of album this is, imagine the funniest guys you knew in eighth grade. They were probably crude and vulgar, but maybe not the most imaginative or original. Now imagine they were given the keys to a first rate recording studio and the full disposal of an experienced audio production team. That kind of summarizes the content of Schneider’s album. Working with several collaborators, Schneider has come up with sixteen audio sketches complete with music, sound effects and fake digital radio station airchecks. At the center of it all, Schneider voices all the many characters’ dialogue himself.
Ultimately, a comedy album needs to make the listener laugh. I didn’t. Hardly even the occasional chuckle. Never mind the album title, because I didn’t find any of the subject matter truly offensive. Rather, from start to finish, the writing is simply juvenile and amateurish. The liner notes explain that Schneider lost his contract with a larger label due to the sketch entitled “Yoko and Julian.” According to Schneider himself, the label was afraid of offending Yoko Ono and therefore didn’t want to touch the album. That may very well be a true story. But I have the sneaking suspicion that after hearing Registered Offender, they simply reconsidered based on the work as a whole.
Most of these sketches simply don’t have a punch line. Take “Yoko and Julian” for example, which Schneider picks as his personal favorite track. Julian Lennon stops by Yoko Ono’s apartment to pick out one of his father’s guitars as a keepsake. Yoko doesn’t want him to take any of the guitars, for a variety of reasons. Julian soon realizes that Yoko isn’t about to part with any of them, instead offering him a bucket of combs. That’s pretty much all there is to it, and it carries on for nearly five minutes. Schneider can, in fact, do an impressive Liverpudlian accent but it doesn’t help that his Yoko sounds nothing like the real person.
Other tracks contain the whole joke in their title, without expanding much in the actual routine. “The Perfect Shit” is a monologue detailing the aspects of what makes a perfect (and imperfect) bowel movement. “Sea of Jizz” finds Schneider voicing a group of sea-faring pirates who are about to sail into the sea of…well, you get the idea. “She’s Gonna Come” is a pop/rock song about a guy whose girlfriend disturbs the neighborhood every time they make love. Sketch after sketch is missing any real spark of genuine wit.
Buried near the end of the album is one sketch that manages to surprise. “Mom and Dad Party” depicts a scenario in which a middle-aged man has invited two guys from a dating service to have a ménage a trois with his wife. The husband videotapes the unfolding action, more worried about keeping his furniture clean than the ways his wife is being defiled. This track manages to finish with an unexpected punch line, one of the only truly clever moments on Rob Schneider’s otherwise idiotic Registered Offender.Powered by Sidelines