Record Review: Jimmy Fallon – The Bathroom Wall (2002)
Everyone makes mistakes. It’s human nature. But sometimes, there are a few moments in our lives where we must reflect on a decision and either justify it or accept it as a consequence of being incredibly bored. Sometime in 2002, I thought it was a good idea to buy “The Bathroom Wall” by SNL alum, Jimmy Fallon. Prior to this, the only exposure I had to this gentleman was watching him corpse in every single skit he was in. (For those of you uninitiated in the acting biz, “corpsing” is what happens when you break character and giggle like an idiot.) Before this, he pulled his unintentional Adam Sandler imitation and played parody songs on a guitar on Weekend Update, way back when Colin Quinn had an actual steady gig that didn’t involve him panhandling outside Rockefeller Plaza or begging Opie and Anthony for a celebrity guest spot.
I was asked to review this album as my first real review. And I sit here, struggling to find a reason to keep playing it. I’ll be honest. I’m listening to it in long intervals based solely on the fact that I become more and more irritated about how ham-fisted this production is. It’s not a rock album. It’s not a comedy album. So what is it? A bad idea come to fruition. At some point in his fledgling career; before NBC threw a dart at a board filled with B-list comedians to take over for Conan, someone greenlit this abomination. Someone sat down, talked to Jimmy Fallon and gave him thousands of dollars to go buckwild with. And through its conception and development, no one at Dreamworks Records decided to slam their godfist down on the stomach of the creative team and put this thing out of its hydrocephalic misery.
“Idiot Boyfriend” came on the radio and I remember thinking that it was a pretty decent send up of early 80′s love songs; you know, the ones that Prince still does but everyone thinks is new. It’s the simple screw up of the “parody” that makes this album fall far short of what it should have been. Fallon’s falsetto moaning over watching the Matrix and eating a Swanson’s dinner is about as gut-bustingly hilarious as watching yourself urinate blood while passing a kidney stone. And if that didn’t mangle your funny bone into several compound fractures, you are treated to four more songs that describe the zany perils of hunting, how white guys still can’t play basketball, why chicks can’t drive, and just how awesome a snowball fight really can be.
After you’ve made it through this roller coaster of mind blowing comedy, the album suddenly goes into a stand-up monologue recorded at what is most likely his own high school. He spends twenty minutes doing his entire routine, dedicating a whopping eleven and a half to “Troll Doll Jingles” and “Troll Doll Impersonations”; other comedians pitching those stupid plastic neon-haired pieces of junk as a product and popular songs with troll dolls as the main theme.
I’ll wait until you’re not in stitches anymore. No, really I will.
Granted, his impressions are merely O.K.; his Cliff Clavin is almost dead on, but it’s completely wasted on the demographic he’s entertaining. He actually prefaces who he’s about to impersonate as “The Mailman from Cheers.” Listen, bud. You said Cliff Clavin. I know who that is. Anyone older than twenty one knows who that is. You having to explain your jokes on stage usually means that you probably shouldn’t be doing them. If these mouth breathers have to do some Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon Advanced Calculus to get to the punchline, please put the microphone down and go back to being the key grip at NBC Studios. On a side note, I also belong to that .0000000039 percentile that have to have complete albums on my iPod or I’ll go completely nuts from OCD inadequacy. I can promise you, if my iPod lasts for more than four years, the entirety of this album’s stand-up bits will be played at least four times—by accident.
Keep in mind, through all of what I have told you, this album was still nominated for a 2003 Grammy for Best Spoken Comedy Album. That’s right. A Grammy. You want to know why I’m so jaded against the music industry? Because despite our dysfunctional symbiotic relationship, I still expect it to treat me with a modicum of intelligence. And nominating this “album” makes no sense at all. It’s not rocking. It’s not funny. It’s simply just there. Staring at you like one of those kids from “Village of the Damned.” Only this time, you don’t have the luxury of detonating yourself along with a bomb and a copy of this CD.
Jimmy Fallon – The Bathroom Wall. Produced by The Soundhustlers. Released by Dreamworks Records on August 27, 2002.
Dante Villanova is an avid freelance fiction writer, movie reviewer, and video game enthusiast. He dual wields sarcasm and cynicism like twin katanas and enjoys filleting pop culture for sport.