Image Entertainment // 2009 // 87 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Roy Hrab (Retired) // April 14th, 2010
As raw and offensive as ever...
I've never been a follower of Artie Lange's (Rescue Me) career. I saw him on the early seasons of MADtv and know that he was a regular on The Howard Stern Show, but that was the extent of it. He was just another comic as far as I was concerned. That all ended during my review of Artie Lang: Jack And Coke.
Now, I should make it clear that things didn't change because the routine on this DVD is brilliantly funny. My views changed because Lange's material is very dark, filled with references about his struggles and experiences with drugs. He came across as unhappy person. As a result, I decided to do some background reading on Lange and was shocked to discovered that he attempted suicide on January 2, 2010. He survived.
Before I read about his suicide attempt, I didn't know what to make about his material, aside from thinking that it wasn't appropriate to laugh at most of it.
Information about Lange's personal life explains a lot of his routine. It is foul, angry, and gloomy. There are some standard jokes about Tom Brady, the Philadelphia Eagles, and New York cabs. However, many of the "jokes" are really just true stories about self-destructive behaviour. He talks about doing cocaine, being fat, visiting American troops in Afghanistan and wanting to try fresh heroin there, and failed relationships. He makes these "jokes" and the audience laughs. At one point he says that "I just have a dark attitude about stuff. I'm depressed. [...] I see the evil in everything." These are warnings and are classic "sad clown" stuff. And when you stop and think about it, it's not funny.
The presentation of the routine is good. It was recorded at the Gotham Comedy Club in New York City. The audio is clear. The video quality is solid.
There are a handful of extras. The first are comments from fans pre- and post-show. This is followed by some behind the scenes footage of Lange discussing how he prepares for a show. Up next is a short bit about the Artie Lange theme song by ReSurch and then some footage of Lange dealing with hecklers and telling some extra jokes. The last two extras are comedy sets by Pete Dominick and Joe Matarese.
Taken as a whole, Artie Lang: Jack And Coke is about a man on a stage making fun of himself. The man is profoundly unhappy. People laughing about his life surround the man. It's difficult to comprehend.
Fans of Lange will no doubt want to purchase this DVD. For others, I'm not so sure. If you're looking for something light and amusing, this isn't it.
The Court wishes Artie Lange well.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Image Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 87 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Footage