Go ahead, laugh. No, really. It's OK. Sure, you're laughing at a bunch of handicapped kids, but they pretty much asked for it. The Kids of Widney High is a rotating group of special-education students from Los Angeles who write and perform original songs. Original, yes. Entertaining, yes. Hilarious, most definitely. But why? Because they're funny. If Tenacious D performed these songs, you'd probably still fall out of your chair. Yet, you have to ask how much of the hilarity is the product of quirky lyrics and how much is because the songs are sung by kids who don't sing particularly well. Are we laughing at the handicapped because they've given us permission to or because, regardless of their disabilities, they've given us something genuine at which to cackle?
Act Your Age includes "Life Without the Cow," a song full of lyrics like, "No more barbecue/No more leather shoes/No more butter on biscuits/No more Ben and Jerry's." Meanwhile, "E-L-V-I-S" serves as a tribute to its namesake, more or less: "I want to give you a nice big hug/Why did you have to do the drugs?/E-L-V-I-S, Elvis, visit me!" The last track on the album, "Santa's in a Wheelchair," suggests that these kids really have a sense of humor and serves as a cry to the rest of the world to regard those with disabilities the same way you would anyone else: worthy of mockery. -- Mandy Jordan