Comedy Central // 1999 // 176 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dylan Charles (Retired) // September 3rd, 2008
Presenting stand-up comedy's best.
If you didn't know, Comedy Central has a show called Comedy Central Presents which features various stand-up comedians of all shapes and sizes. This is a DVD of some (eight) of those performances and it happens to be the second volume. This was the easiest plot synopsis I've ever had to write.
It's difficult to review any kind of comedy, especially stand-up comedy. I'm not telling you anything new. You all have that one friend who thinks Dane Cook is hilarious and you always feel a wave of pity when you see him.
I'll just tell you the basic components of each act and then what I liked and didn't like. And then you'll ignore what I say because the disc has that one performance of Patton Oswalt you've always wanted to see.
I'll just tell you about Patton Oswalt first so you can go on your way:
Patton Oswalt: This was perhaps my favorite performance out of the lot. You might remember Mr. Oswalt from Ratatouille or Reno 911!. He has good energy and feeds off the crowd. He covers a wide-range of topics from his trip to Amsterdam to more of his trip to Amsterdam to everyday life kind of things. He feels spontaneous and his jokes are often on the mark.
Mike Birbiglia: This was a surprise and a good one at that. I'd never heard of him before, but he has a very casual and laid-back approach to the way he tells his jokes. And the last ten minutes of his act, in which he shows off his artwork from when he was a wee lad, had me peeing myself. God, how I wish that were hyperbole.
Nick Swardson: Another veteran of Reno 911! as well as appearing in movies like Blades of Glory, Swardson's stand-up act isn't as funny as his improv work on Reno or his acting in moving pictures. It's not so much what he says, as how he says it, and funny delivery can take a bad joke so far.
Stephen Lynch: I became a fan of Lynch when I heard his song "Ugly Baby" on the radio. An uncensored, unedited version of his song "Ugly Baby." It was a beautiful thing. Lynch makes his bread and butter with a variety of songs and a guitar. Lynch isn't so much laugh-out-loud funny as he is extremely clever. It takes a lot of talent to write the songs he has, but I rarely laughed. Mere chuckles.
Zach Galifianakis: I have very mixed feelings about Galifianakis. He has a very odd humor style, with one liner humor mixed with surrealism. By the end, I just felt unsettled. Although, I just checked on IMDb and found out he also showed up on Reno 911!.
Dave Attell: Normally extremely crude and known for his show Insomniac with Dave Attell where he goes around the country getting drunk at late hours, I get the feeling Attell was told to tone it down for this show. Despite that (or because of it), he delivers a couple of heavy hitters the way only Dave Attell can. With a gratuitous mention of midgets. And drinking.
Frank Calliendo: Calliendo relies heavily on impressions, which is fine, although impressions on their own aren't enough. He tries to pick it all up into a zany, wacky train of inter-connected impressions, but it feels so rehearsed and forced that it just across as, well, rehearsed and forced. Unlike our last presenter:
Daniel Tosh: Another surprise for me, Mr. Tosh gave me the impression that, at any point, he might just wander away from the stage. And take a baby with him. Caliendo could learn a thing or two about making eccentricity and looniness seem unrehearsed from Tosh. Very out there humor that succeeded in making me laugh about 90% of the time.
On the whole, Comedy Central Presents: Volume II has a very mixed bag of comedians. There should be at least one person here who will tickle your funny bone. And if not, I'd be hard pressed to say who would.
My main problem is that these aren't the full performances, they're more like stand-up minis at twenty minutes long. There's obviously a lot of material cut from each one.
Still, if you're a fan of stand-up comedy, you can do little wrong from at least renting this.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Comedy Central
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 176 Minutes
Release Year: 1999
MPAA Rating: Not Rated