Published Jun 17, 2016Exclaim! is reviewing every standup comedy special currently available on Netflix Canada, including this one. You can find a complete list of reviews so far here.
Weirdo came out at the height of the hype about Donald Glover. In 2011, he'd recently gone from 30 Rock writer to the star of cult sitcom Community, using his spare time to release a handful of fun, indie rock-sampling rap mixtapes under the name Childish Gambino. Weirdo originally aired the week that Glover dropped his official album Camp, and in a post-Community, post-Childish Gambino world, the special now serves as documentation of Glover doing what he does best — making people laugh on purpose.
After filming his taxi cab arrival to the New York stage, Glover kicks off his set by warning the audience that things are going to get "a lot grosser" than anything they've see on Community. He makes good on that promise, filling 60 minutes with jokes that often rely on poop and dick references for the punch lines, though he's not afraid to tackle topics like race and family, either.
Glover comes off as a 27-year-old determined not to lose his childlike sense of wonder, nostalgic for the time of Muppet Babies and "the homeless person's fever dream" that is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, though he opts to open up discussions about race with more modern pop culture allusions to the controversy spawned by an internet campaign for the actor to star in a Spider-Man reboot and Charlie Sheen's use of the N-word. He also mines romantic relationship for laughs, using examples of Destiny's Child songs to poke fun at the contradictory demands of the girls he's dated.
Despite Glover's own youthful exuberance, kids (both hypothetical ones and the ones that he grew up with) are a central target of ridicule throughout the set. Dubbing them "tiny Hitlers" after witnessing a particularly harsh playground altercation, he goes so far as to rationalize that he'd rather have AIDS than a kid. "They are both expensive. You'll have them for the rest of your life. They are constant reminder of the mistake you made," he wagers. "The only difference is you can't go to jail by accidentally dropping AIDS."
He's hyper-aware of his place within pop culture as a goofy hipster dude, though he's equally quick to point out the absurdity of the expectations the public put on him — whether it's pressure to be popular while retaining nerd cred, to be one kind of artist (on stage, on screen and in the recording studio), or, especially, to be a certain kind of black man.
Ultimately, Glover's show celebrates his eccentricities and as the title implies, he's fine with getting weird; he's enthusiastic, expressive and silly throughout, making Weirdo a fun, millennial-minded alternative to any standard grouchy old man standup set.