Dan Castellaneta

Dan Castellaneta

I am Not Homer

Oglio

Hate to break it to you Dan, but you are Homer. Oh, sure, Homer Simpson is not the full extent of your talent — this album, and your low-key appearances here and there prove that readily — but I can’t think of anyone else on this planet who is more fitting to bear the responsibility. Who would you nominate? The writers of The Simpsons? The Korean animators? I suggest you just take it easy and bask in the warm, admiring glow that being the voice of Homer — and Groundskeeper Willie, Krusty The Clown and Barney Gumble, among others — gets you.

That said, this is not an album of Homerisms, so the title does serve as fair warning. Another slight deception is that this is not a solo comedy album, but rather a team effort with Deb Lacusta, Castallaneta’s real-world wife. Dan and Deb bandy throughout the album, save for the last obligatory-Simpsons-experience track. The liner notes reference the husband-and-wife comedy team of Nichols and May (Nichols being Mike Nichols, who went on to direct The Graduate and many other fine films, an May being Elaine May, a fine comedienne and film person in her own right), and it’s a dead-on comparison. The two seem to read each other’s mind, and their comedic timing is flawless, whether the characters they’re playing are at odds or in support of each other.

There are eight sketches here, all linguistically clean but definitely twisted in spirit. “Rocks Off” gives us a radio interview of an aspiring musician whose compositions use the sounds of animals in distress — it shouldn’t be funny, but the clip of Jimmy Slime’s “The Cat Is Back,” featuring dissonant guitar noise, someone banging on a trash can, and various cats yowling in protest nearly had me driving off the road. His rationalization of taking these cats out of their boring suburban existence and into an environment where they can be creative almost caused another accident.

Other high points include “Dynamite Sales,” a peek inside one of those motivational seminars and “AM Therapy,” which pits radio psychologists against each other with cross-dressing caller Felipe as an unwitting pawn. And of course, lest the “fans” be disappointed, the closing track, “So Dumb (Homer’s Lament)” has Castellaneta as a variety of the characters he vocalizes on The Simpsons. It’s OK — fun to hear the voices in the studio, but it’s almost a jarring afterthought after the rest of the comedy material. I am Not Homer is not as aggressive as, say, a Bill Hicks stand-up album, but it’s nonetheless a pretty well-crafted bit of comedy.

Oglio Records: http://www.oglio.com/

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