My original The Adventures of Tom Stranger, Interdimensional Insurance Agent audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.
While listening to The Adventures of Tom Stranger, Interdimensional Insurance Agent, one word kept popping into my head – ridiculous. Although this audiobook is billed as a comedy, ‘ridiculous’ is not necessarily a compliment. Comedy, you see, is largely subjective. I’ll take George Carlin over Adam Sandler any day of the week, and, unfortunately, this Audible Original was a lot like mainlining a Sandler production – it’s ridiculous, but not in a good way.
Tom Stranger is an insurance agent for the multiverse. He’s been mistakenly paired with a yuckster of an intern who reminded me of Shaggy from Scooby-Doo, and who has a pathetic GPA in his Gender Studies degree track (this, by the way, is an example of one of the running gags that The Adventures of Tom Stranger has to offer). Stranger voyages across multiple Earth’s in search of his proper intern, squaring off against his rival, the insurance agent Jeff Conundrum. Along the way, there’s a few dashes of Chuck Norris hero-worship, purple people eaters who harvest men’s scrotums, and a meta guest-appearance by the author Larry Correia, who finds himself in need of rescuing by the ubiquitous, bow-tie loving insurance agent.
Correia sets the tone immediately in the opening chapter, which involves Adam Baldwin, President of the United States and celebrated star of the long-running Firefly, grappling with a global crises as the scrotum-collecting purple people eater’s devour Europe. A deranged, loud-mouthed Secretary of Defense loses it over a computer glitch, shoots the computer, and then acts like a massive buffoon while drawing stick figures of the alien creatures gathering their victims genitals. Along the way, we get some dated humor about Windows Operating Systems and John Tesh. The rest of the book follows a similar path for the next two hours, with much of the humor focused on hitting cheap, easy marks like Today’s Youth, Telemarketers, Obama, and Occupy Protestors. Although the setting and premise are most certainly unique, none of the jokes are particularly original or funny.
Narrating Tom Stranger is not-President Adam Baldwin, from the short-lived TV series Firefly. Although the story itself didn’t do much for me, Baldwin’s narration is pretty good and he’s clearly having a fun time hamming it up with the material. He delivers a pretty broad range of character voices here, from the overly-aggressive Secretary of Defense to the level-headed Stranger, with dashes of milquetoast in between. He also does a damn effective manatee. On the production quality end of things, the sound is crisp and clean, and on par with the handful of other Audible Originals; in this regard, it’s as excellent as I expected.
Audible is currently offering The Adventures of Tom Stranger, Interdimensional Insurance Agent for free until June 21, 2016. Not a bad deal to hear Adam Baldwin imitate a manatee.
[Audiobook provided for review by the audiobookreviewer.com]