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Norman Rockwell Is Bleeding

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Album Review

The inspiration for his network television series, Norman Rockwell Is Bleeding is standup comedian/sitcom star Christopher Titus' epic monologue on his dysfunctional family, one that he premiered in 2000 at the Montreal Just for Laughs festival. In 2004 it was aired as a television special on the Showtime cable network, so this 2008 Comedy Central double CD arrives late in the game, almost as an afterthought. Since Titus tends to oversell his disgust at his family with excessive grimaces, this is arguably the best incarnation of the piece, but in any format Rockwell is a riveting and sometimes overwhelming ride that somehow pulls belly laughs and hope out of brutality and despair. Dad is an alcoholic while mom is literally schizophrenic. Childhood experiences include spousal abuse and parent/teacher conferences where pops brings a beer. Through it all, Titus remains a good kid, hoping for the best but "pulling a lot of pranks that happened to be felonies." An unbelievably solid foundation, superior smarts, and an intense lust for life guide the teen Titus through even tougher times, and when the third act rolls around with its devastating news of what happened next, the charismatic narrator comforts his audience with news of his recent wedding anniversary with 13 healthy years in the books. As he masterfully exits on what we can learn from drunks and junkies, it's "that which does not kill us makes us stronger" in living color, delivered by a man who's been to hell and back and won't let it happen again. If this doesn't sound like it could be funny, think of the way Woody Allen could meditate on the cruel world early in his career, but up the ante with much more vulgar injustices and replace the nebbish character with one who embraces hot rods and the Beastie Boys. The comforting moments outweigh the uncomfortable, and while the heavy subject matter should be noted, this fine example of standup as a poignant art form shouldn't be missed. Norman Rockwell Is Bleeding is essential listening for comedy fans and anyone on the wrong end of "you can't pick your family."

Customer Reviews

From Eclipse Magazine

Christopher Titus does something that no other comic does – he makes a childhood that should be tragic and turns it into humor. Whether he’s explaining why fathers are better parents than mothers; suggesting likely occupations for ex-junkies, or detailing the events of his childhood, Titus pulls no punches – in fact, on occasion, he leans into them. There are stand up comics who make a career out of other people’s pain; comics who make careers out of their own pain, and comics who make a career out of the story of their lives. Christopher Titus does all three [though in fairness, the other people’s pain comes from the members of his family, and his friends...]. If you watched FOX’s three-season sitcom, Titus, you’ve probably encountered much of this material – watered down, at least in terms of language – before. Or, you might have heard some of it on one of his other CDs, or at one of his concerts. If you have, don’t think you can skip this new two-CD set.With his machine gun-like vocal style, he launches into moments of heartbreaking poignancy just long enough to turn them into some of the funniest bits you’ll ever hear. Even the title of the album – Norman Rockwell is Bleeding – is a humorous reference to the utterly dysfunctional nature of his family. There are too few comics whose work is actually as important as it is funny. Titus is one of them. If you think your family is weird, you owe it to yourself [and, possibly, your family] to check out this CD. Just don’t be too surprised if some of it rings the odd bell or two… Final Grade: A+

Saw this stand-up on Comedy Central - just as good in audio

I actually just saw this stand-up played on Comedy Central a few days ago and laughed hysterically. I was a bit worried about hearing it audibly and it being just as humerous because Titus is a very animated comedian, but I was genuinely surprised! The audio made me laugh just as hard as watching him on TV. This is a must purchase for everyone who loves comedy!

Wait is over

I've been waiting for this to come out a long time. It has more material than the HBO special of the same name and yes, those part that overlap, overlap almost exactly. Of course everything is funny enough that, if you are listening to it on a bus, you will have a wide space around you: nobody sits next to the person laughing that hard...and if you explain it ("Oh it's so funny, his mom was just committed") they may ask you to leave.


Born: October 1, 1964 in Castro Village, CA

Genre: Comedy

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the darkest comedians to ever land a television sitcom, Christopher Titus blurs the line between standup and monologues with his edgy yet accessible act. While growing up in Northern California he was shuttled between his divorced parents. According to Titus himself, his life lessons came in the form of "here's what NOT to do." While this dysfunctional upbringing would later be at the center of his one-man shows and his television series, he originally immersed himself in other characters...
Full Bio
Norman Rockwell Is Bleeding, Christopher Titus
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