In a word: it’s good. Tuesdays at 10:30 EST, 9:30 Central… and repeated at 11pm, with Colbert leading in.
Not great. But good. And bound to get better, I think. Bear in mind: I was never a big fan of MacDonald before. Found his too-smirky style on SNL Weekend Update annoying (plus he didn’t have the range as an actor/improviser to do many sketches). Also skipped his forgettable stint on a sitcom (which I’ve now forgotten the name of), and most of his movies. But I always knew he had this cutting, dark wit and good timing that could work well with the right situation.
So in this variation of his stand-up routine, filled out with visual aids, a good writing staff, a studio audience like Stewart and Colbert, and one ragged sketch per show, Norm’s completely in his element. He can freely make fun of pro athletes, Khloe Kardashian, and all the stuff that he already loves to hate. . . so long as it ties in loosely with the sports theme. (We’ll see how closely he sticks to sports, of course.)
Sample: “NBA and NFL lockouts: Are you ready for some cricket?!” (Maybe not funny here, but he sold the joke very well…)
And the sketch he did on the premiere episode, dubbing his voice in for NBA phenom Blake Griffin‘s, was terrific — precisely because it wasn’t too ambitious, and hit all its targets. Griffin showed some talent for clowning and physical comedy, too… good to know.
I say let’s stick around till the two-minute warning, see what Norm can do. If he screws it up somehow, we can still leave early to beat the parking lot traffic.