Out Of The Norm

Remembering a legend

Every celebrity death hits different. Anthony Bourdain broke my heart. Kobe had me in disbelief. Now, Norm Macdonald has me…looking for a laugh.

I never got to meet Norm, nor see him live but his comedy had an enormous impact on me. Turd Ferguson will forever be one of–if not the–best SNL skit of all-time. He was also the greatest Weekend Update anchor we’ve seen, and there have been some great ones. No guest on late night shows could steal the show the way he could. If you’ve never had the chance to watch Norm Macdonald Live, his video podcast, make sure to check it out now. Norm had a way to make horrible jokes funny. Both horrible in the sense of being a bad not funny joke, and horrible as in offensive. He could tell those kind of jokes like nobody else could, with his awkward charm and self-aware questioning of what he just said. It’s a craft that many comedians can’t capture. His ability to deliver a cringey joke is what makes him one of my favorites ever. Doing my awkward interviews, on-air conversations, and street bits I always wanted to be like Norm. The segment on Live where they would read each others jokes or have guests read his jokes is unparalleled.

Not only was Norm one of the best stand-up comedians we’ve seen, but he was always funny in his movie/tv roles. His brief cameo in Deuce Bigalow European Gigolow? Classic! He had a one of a kind voice that can’t be replicated. Trust me, I’ve tried. It can’t be done. I encourage you to spend some time watching the videos and clips I’ve provided within this blog. You may feel guilty laughing occassionally…but those jokes will stick with you. He was everything I want to be as a funny guy, understated, care free, awkward, and not afraid to say what everyone else is thinking. Thank you Norm for teaching us how to be funny, even when it’s not the right time. We will all miss you.

Pick ‘Em Pickle: NFL Week 12

Week 12 is poised to be the most 2020 week yet in the NFL season. Due to covid, Steelers-Ravens has been pushed to Tuesday night with a reported 22 Ravens on the Covid/Restrictions list. The Broncos will take on the Saints sans a quarterback. It’s going to be a crazy week, but we’re thankful to have football.

Bears @ Packers Line: GB -8.5

Bears keep slipping after their unexpected hot start. Trubisky returns as starting quarterback which is good news for the Packers.

Pick: GB -8.5 Packers 28 Bears 17

Raiders @ Falcons Line: LV -3.0

The Raiders seem to always bring their A game when they play the Chiefs. They looked great in that loss last week. I think they ride that momentum against the Falcons.

Pick: LV -3.0 Raiders 26 Falcons 20

Chargers @ Bills Line: BUF -4.5

Chargers have been known to keep games close, but the Bills have so much potential on offense and I think they’ll capitalize against a developing Chargers team.

Pick: BUF -4.5 Bills 30 Chargers 23

Giants @ Bengals Line: NYG -6.0

Losing Joe Burrow is devastating for this young Bengals team. He was looking great and deserving of that number one pick. Bummer for the league as a joke honestly. He made watching this team at least a little interesting. That won’t be happening any more. I know I’ve said never to bet on the NFC East, but that changes today.

Pick: NYG -6.0 Giants 24 Bengals 13

Titans @ Colts Line: IND -3.0

I think these are two evenly matched team. Titans seem to be a little healthier right now so I’ll take them spotted 3 points.

Pick: TEN +3.0 Titans 24 Colts 21

Panthers @ Vikings Line: MIN -3.0

Panthers fresh off a shutout win…against the Lions. I expect the Vikings running game to come out with a win this week/

Pick: MIN -3.0 Vikings 21 Panthers 17

Cardinals @ Patriots Line: ARI -1.0

Only 1 point? I’ll take the Cardinals.

Pick: ARI -1.0 Cardinals 30 Patriots 20

Dolphins @ Jets Line: MIA -7.0

Rooting for Fitzpatrick to have a statement game after his surprise benching earlier in the season. He put up big numbers against them earlier in the season and is now armed with even more motivation than before. Bet.

Pick: MIA -7.0 Dolphins 21 Jets 10

Browns @ Jaguars Line: CLE -7.0

Expect the Browns to run all over the Jags.

Pick: CLE -7.0 Browns 24 Jaguars 14

Saints @ Broncos Line: NO -16.5

The Broncos don’t have a quarterback! Well, neither do the Saints…kind of…look, Hill proved to be okay last week against a terrible Falcons D. With a true QB I’d take the Broncos to cover this massive spread, but with a quarterback who has never taken a snap? I don’t know. I’m not comfortable betting on a team who doesn’t have a QB regardless of the spread.

Pick: NO -16.5 Saints 28 Broncos 10

49ers @ Rams Line: LAR -5.5

Rams looked great last week. The playoff push continues.

Pick: LAR -5.5 Rams 28 49ers 16

Chiefs @ Buccaneers Line: KC -3.5

Hard to bet against that offense. Tompa Bay remains too inconsistent and aren’t utilizing their weapons.

Pick: KC -3.5 Chiefs 24 Buccaneers 20

Seahawks @ Eagles Line: SEA -6.0

What is going on with the Philly QB situation? It’s chaos. I’ll go with the safe bet in Wilson and Seattle.

Pick: SEA -6.0 Seahawks 33 Eagles 17

Ravens @ Steelers Line: PIT -9.5

Will this game even be played? Who knows right how. However, if it is played, the Ravens will be short handed and without key players and that will make a difference. Steelers remain undefeated.

Pick: PIT -9.5 Steelers 28 Ravens 17

Cort Freeman Live(ish): E02 Cancel Culture

Every day it seems like someone new is being canceled. Are we in a cancel culture or are we just exposing jerks? I address it in Episode 02 of Cort Freeman Live(ish).

Cort Freeman Live(ish): E02

Follow on Twitter: @cortfreeman, IG: @cortfreem, and Twitch: twitch.tv/cortfreeman

Cort Freeman Live(ish): E01 Inaugural Episode

There has been so much happening in 2020, I decided it was a good time to start a video podcast. My goal is to discuss this, that, and nothing. You could say it’s the other show about nothing.

In the inaugural episode, I talk COVID, Black Lives Matter, Karen, and share some theories I think could impact the 2020 election. I hope to do one every week day, going live on Twitch (twitch.tv/cortfreeman) and then share on my social accounts and YouTube…and of course, here.

Cort Freeman Live(ish): E01

The Worst Episodes Of My Favorite Shows

This is a TV that likely doesn’t work because it is not plugged in. (Source: @sveninho)

It’s easy to name your favorite episodes of your favorite shows. It’s fun to share your thoughts with friends about the laughs that stand out and what makes that show superior to the others. But, have you ever challenged yourself to find your least favorite episode of your favorite program? Admittedly, it’s probably not as fun to talk about in your social circles (as much as I would enjoy it). So, today, I dove deep into my favorite shows and found my least favorite episodes.

The Office

Season 6 Episode 14 – “The Banker”

The Office is the show I never stop binging. I finish the Finale and then immediately restart with the Pilot, and the cycle continues. During these binges there’s only one episode I will skip past every time—The Banker (S06, E14).

Ugh, The Banker! The skid mark on an otherwise fantastic season complete with some of my favorite and classic episodes. This episode is basically just a clip show highlighting memories from previous seasons. Yes, it’s emotional and they did a good job with it, but it’s a major downer. It does brace you for the other major downers to follow (Nellie) but it’s completely skippable and I do every time. For the record: picking a least favorite episode after Season 7 is a cheap Busch League move.

Seinfeld

Season 9 Episode 20 – “The Puerto Rican Day”

Speaking of making a Busch League pick, I had to follow up with Seinfeld. Everybody loves to rip on the Seinfeld Finale, largely for reasons I explained previously about Clip Shows. I get nobody wants a clip show, but for a finale, as they did in Seinfeld, I have no issue. Well, minimum issue. I think it worked! I liked them bringing back all the characters from previous episodes. Karma, Jerry! Karma! However, to find my least favorite episode, you don’t have to go far from there—The Puerto Rican Day.

There are many things that make “The Puerto Rican Day“ my least favorite episode of one of my least favorite shows. It’s offensive to man, first off. But the bigger issue is it wasn’t that funny. Not a lot of laughs. If you’re going to choose to be offensive, you better get some laughs out of it at least! (Don’t be offensive though, I’m not condoning that). It just fell short of every mark for me. And then was followed by clip shows and that Finale! Rough stretch to end the greatest show ever.

A last note, I pulled up a list of all the episodes season by season to do this making notes of which ones could be the least favorite, but upon landing on The Puerto Rican Day I knew it had to be that one. Then, while checking my work because I have no idea what the general population thinks is the worst episode (outside of the finale) and Variety wrote an article ALSO calling it the worst. I feel validated! I didn’t pick it because they did. No conformity going on! No ads! All my boring opinion. Eat Fresh.

South Park

Season 3 Episode 4 – Jakovasaurs

It’s hard to get my to bad talk South Park. I love that show and everything Trey and Matt touch (Orgazmo, BASEketball, etc). So believe it pains me to come on here and talk about my least favorite episode but…man, is it bad. My least favorite episode can be none other than—Jakovasaurs.

Holy annoying, Batman. I can’t sit through this episode, that alien dinosaur thing is way too obnoxious to handle. I can’t. Even thinking about this episode hurts my head. Why!? Why do that to us!?!

Family Guy

Season 12 Episode 02 – Vestigial Peter

Speaking of annoying, let’s talk about Peter’s little neck twin, Chip. Just when I was thinking no character on TV could be more annoying than the damn Jakovasaurs in comes motherloving Chip saying “hold my beer.” Ugh. I can’t make it through the episode! Too annoying. There are still laughs in the episode, granted, but I can’t voluntarily sit through that. Shut up, Meg? No, shut up, Chip.

That ‘70s Show

Season 4 Episode 24 – That ‘70s Musical

Finally, we’ve reached the ‘70s. This show has brought me many a laughs over the years. This could have been the hardest to pick a least favorite for. Of course, there’s the episode where Randy is introduced and all things go south from there. But I figured picking that would be cheap, as would any episode without Eric or Kelso so I had to make my final decision—That ‘70s Musical.

Personally, I wish they never did this. It’s cringeworthy. Feels like it goes on forever and ever with no end in sight. That moment could truly be worse than when we get introduced to Randy. As Red would put it “I wish I had a dozen feet so I could shove them in all the writers asses!”

That does it! Those are my least favorite episodes of my favorite shows. What are yours? Let me know on Twitter @CortFreeman

Thai Hard: A Burger Experiment

Them's some fresh greens.

Them’s some fresh greens.

Anybody who’s been around a kitchen enough knows it’s never wrong to cook with wine. Pour some in the pan, and some in the glass (then repeat as needed). As important as wine is to the process of cooking, I think it’s imperative to cook with good herbs. Now, hold on—don’t go there. Spices, I’m talking spice, girls. What’s a fish taco without cilantro? Bruschetta without basil? Nothing that tickles my fancy, that’s for sure. Herbs provide food with that extra refreshing kick, taking any dish to the next level. It also helps the food taste authentic, giving it the taste of the region. Down in Mexico they love their cilantro, so adding it to tacos creates the nostalgia of cuisine they may have had while vacationing south of the border. Same goes with the cayenne and flavor of Texas barbeque rub, with the right combination of spices, you can create that signature bite.

There’s no denying, I’m totally hooked on food shows like Triple D, Man v Food, and the many adventures of Anthony Bourdain. I credit these shows for getting me passionate, not only about eating unique foods, but preparing them myself. The episodes are like video cookbooks—they literally show you how to create amazing dishes step by step. The other day I saw an episode where Guy Fieri was showcasing a Thai food truck and the chef put together a mouth-watering lamb burger—and put mint and cilantro in with the meat. She then topped the sandwich with some traditional slaw that you often see on Vietnamese and Thai sandwiches. I needed it. The crunch of the slaw, coupled with a refreshing minty burger, set against hot Thai peppers—yes, please. Before I could begin creating an Asian burger of my own, I was judo-chopped with more inspiration after a visit to Detroit’s Green Dot Stables and sampling their Korean slider. It’s a one of a kind burger, the likes of which I have never seen: topped with mild kim chi and peanut butter on the bottom. Somehow this combination of complete opposite flavors comes together perfectly. The hot(ish) kim chi cooled by the peanut butter to create what can only be described as harmony. There was no need to wait; I was ready to get started on my Thai Burger experiment.

Green Dot Stables' Korean Slider (Detroit)

Green Dot Stables’ Korean Slider (Detroit)

When I think of Thai flavors, peanut comes to mind first. Maybe that’s just because Pad Thai comes with peanuts? But I feel like it’s common there, so I was for sure going to follow the Green Dot’s lead and incorporate it into the burger. After doing some research, I had a list of ingredients put together and went out to the market. For the slaw topping, I gathered red peppers, broccoli slaw, garlic, cucumbers, basil, cilantro, ginger (great taste, but a lot of work to peel/grate), and a sweet red chili Thai sauce to marinate it all in for that extra hi-ya. You mix all of that together, add some salt and olive oil then set aside to cool.

Thai Slaw. Red pepper, ginger, cilantro, basil, broccoli slaw, garlic, and cucumber.

Thai Slaw. Red pepper, ginger, cilantro, basil, broccoli slaw, garlic, and cucumber.

Ordinary mayo wasn’t going to cut it with this theme, so something funky had to be created. That’s where the magic of cilantro comes into play. I’m a big supporter of cilantro. If cilantro cologne were a thing, I’d probably buy it. For this mayo concoction, there wasn’t a lot of creativity needed. Just add some cilantro and basil to the mayo, a squeeze of limejuice, light olive oil and throw that bad lad in the fridge—don’t serve warm mayo, homie (cc: Michael Scott).

Ooo white death.

Ooo white death.

The meat is where things start to really get interesting. Following the recipe of the food truck lady, you start by adding some mint to the ground meat. Not much is needed; mint can be pretty strong (although recommended on dates). Green onions then get added to the party, along with some crumbled Sriracha kettle chips for flavor and to use as a binding agent within the meat. Finish by adding some additional sweet red chili sauce to the equation, mix it all together, and get the grill a-going. When ready, apply peanut butter to the bottom bun, grill the top bun and add your cilantro mayo, then place the burger and top with the slaw mix. If you listen closely, you can hear your taste buds thanking you after each bite.

Finished product.

Finished product.

As Guy would say, these burgers were bomb-dot-com, on point, and approved by the Mayor of Flavortown. You almost forget that you’re eating a burger, because the unique flavors combine to create an entirely different eating experience. You now have all the ingredients needed to make it happen, or I encourage you to watch an episode to get inspired to re-create something on your own.