Review: Mark Normand, “Don’t Be Yourself” on Comedy Central

Mark Normand has toured with Amy Schumer as her opening act for the past few years, and she didn’t let him forget whose boss, as she not only produced Normand’s first hour stand-up comedy special for Comedy Central, but also appears in the title and in the opening scene.

Amy Schumer Presents Mark Normand: Don’t Be Yourself demonstrates how Normand has become a headliner in his own right.

Normand delivers stand-up as if he’s been doing it since before he was born, with a classic cadence about him that even extends to some of his linguistic choices. Like “cut back on the sauce” to describe his drinking habits, or exploring how the phrase “riddled with” never gets used to describe something positive. He also prefers to joke about how old-fashioned values toward gender roles and norms are expressed today.

But as the title suggests, Normand remains plagued by his own thoughts and anxiety. As he says, “I’m a feely guy, everything makes me feel uncomfortable.” Normand describes himself as an introvert, which of course makes his career choice a bit ironic. “It’s just a weird brain I got. Like, I want you guys to like me. But I’m scared of you. You bum me out. But I need your love.” So he wants to you to laugh. On the other hand: “If you don’t get these jokes, your life is better than mine.”

He has an economy of words and a sharp delivery that gets straight to the punchline and staccatos through the tags. Rat-a-tat-tat!

He also has this move where he puts his arms above his head, waving them back and forth while half-screaming an “arrrrrrgh” to express his anxiety.

Not that he wants you to see his true feelings. Because being himself, or being yourself, he jokes is truly the weirdest version of yourself that nobody else sees. We may advise you to be yourself, but that’s the worst advice in reality, Normand jokes. “We pay top dollar for phony!”

Normand, however, is the real deal. And he’s worth listening to.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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