'Tuned In' review: Donald Glover does balancing act for 'Weirdo'

Donald Glover's 'Weirdo'

Donald Glover's "Weirdo"

“Weirdo,” Donald Glover (Entertainment One)

Donald Glover is a multi-tasking performer — actor, writer, DJ/rapper and stand-up comedian.

What with all his other work, the well-rounded “Community” star probably doesn’t have time to overcook his comic routine, and that would seem to serve him well on his new stand-up release, “Weirdo.” He doesn’t conjure catchphrases, affect ridiculous voices and personas or force himself through a blatantly rigid structure. Instead, he presents himself as an engaging conversationalist who delivers a balanced mix of quick observations and longer stories. His energy is consistently up, and he sometimes stutters and repeats himself, to charismatic effect.

The material on “Weirdo” is racy enough to set Glover apart from his “Community” character, Troy Barnes, yet grounded enough to distinguish him from his rapper character, Childish Gambino.

Glover works in the most universal of comedy themes — the differences between men and women, the dynamics of a family — and tarts them up with expletives and bizarre twists, though his tweaks feel more natural than gratuitous.

For instance, he relates tales of his impatient, self-centered childhood, though he also shares that children are “awful people,” incapable of sympathy or empathy ... he even calls them “tiny Hitlers.” Glover goes on to say that his primary reason for using condoms is to avoid having children, not getting AIDS: “I’d much rather have AIDS than a baby. ... (Having AIDS and having babies are) not that different at all. They’re both expensive. You have them for the rest of your life. They’re constant reminders of the mistakes you made. And once you have them, you pretty much can only date other people who have them. What’s the difference?”

Glover’s not always so edgy, however. His recollection of his mother’s withholding of sugary cereals is as satisfying as the shock-value stuff, and a story of his childhood misadventures at a Home Depot manages to blend both scatological humor and down-home warmth.

There are no lulls in the hour-plus “Weirdo,” and even if it doesn’t have the impact of a classic comedy album, it’s worth repeat listens.

Rating (five possible): 3-1/2

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