Goldhil Home Media // 2006 // 60 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // February 23rd, 2006
So I lost 31 pounds. Atkins and crystal meth are amazing!
Ant is a singularly-named gay comic who's been seen doing stand-up on Last Comic Standing, hosting VH-1's Celebrity Fit Club, and commenting on pop culture on Best Week Ever. He plays to mainly straight audiences, and maybe times are changing quicker than we ever thought. This release is either aptly or optimistically titled Ant -- America's Ready to reflect the acceptance he is gaining across the country. But then again, the only place this televised special is airing is on the gay channel Logo. So is America really ready for Ant? Well...ready or not, here he comes.
Stand-up comedy is a hard gig. Nobody knows that better than I. I once had to host a beauty pageant, and they kept telling me to stall and "say something funny." I was mortified, but I learned one lesson quickly: Comedy comes from making fun of yourself, and not other people. Ant follows this rule to the letter. He is the butt of his own jokes more often than not. So basically this is one hour of gay jokes that don't come off as homophobic, because for once the jokester is queer himself. Now I'm sure Ant is not the first gay comic, because Paul Lynde didn't seem terribly heavy in his loafers (and there are many more to cite). What separates him from the earlier lavender comedy pack is he uses his sexual identity to be funny. Ant's not afraid to come out of the closet by kicking the door down and marching out in floppy clown shoes. (Oh wait -- they're designer clown shoes. He is queer, you know.)
In general, the act featured here is fast-paced and funny. Unfortunately, if you've seen his bits on Last Comic Standing you'll remember most of his material, but those new to this comic are in for a rare treat. Ant is likable and his presentation is well honed and strong. His act is geared towards a general audience -- he reminds me of a gay Richard Pryor or Eddie Murphy. He talks a lot about his family, working for an airline, and what it's like for him living in Hollywood. The majority of the time his humor comes from being an "outsider," and pointing out his observations as a gay man living in America. He's at his best when he talks about the misconceptions and miscommunications between the straight world and his community. The crowd is warm and receptive, and his entire routine goes over well. He's impossible not to like, no matter what side of the political/cultural fence you land on.
The DVD presentation is a very nice widescreen digital video transfer, so it's crisp with bright, accurate colors. The sound mix is a not-too-aggressive five speaker surround mix that is very full for a stand-up act. It makes you feel like you are in the hall with the performer and audience around you. Even the menus are nicely done, with full animation. Ant gets some glamorous shots for the cover. Goldhil Home Media is a company I have never encountered before, but they take advantage of the DVD format nicely in this release. Also included in the extras are some deleted bits. All in all, this is a handsome package which is an impressive step beyond normal comedy concert releases. The only drawback to the product are some forced previews before the feature and when you start up the disc.
I can't wait to see what's next for Ant. According to his official web site he's developing a reality series, where he travels around to small towns in America to interview gays who live in rural settings. Guess he'll be bringing his West Hollywood viewpoint to them. I've included a link to his site in the Accomplices section on the right of this page. Interestingly enough, the comedian seems easily accessible, often posting direct responses on his message board. So not only is he talented, but he's a genuinely nice guy. Here's hoping he gets all the success this rainbow-flag-waving comic deserves.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Goldhil Home Media
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Deleted Scenes
* Official Site