Case Number 08142: Small Claims Court

GILBERT GOTTFRIED: DIRTY JOKES

Image Entertainment // 2005 // 49 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron // December 6th, 2005

The Charge

"A man walks into a doctor's office..."

The Case

Gilbert Gottfried has always been a kind of enigma. Anyone who witnessed his uncomfortable performances as part of the 1980 debacle version of Saturday Night Live would never have imagined that he had a stellar, surreal stand-up comedy act buried somewhere deep inside his nerdy nebbish form. Yet all throughout the 1980s, thanks to numerous appearances on David Letterman and other showcases, Gottfried proved his eclectic humor chops, most memorably on his HBO specials. Even those only aware of him from his decided Disney-fication during the last decade (he was the voice of Iago the parrot in Aladdin and that equally irritating AFLAC duck in the current insurance ad campaign) would probably pause when given a chance to see his current approach to wit. Indeed, Uncle Walt is probably spinning in his cryogenic chamber to learn that one of his vaulted voiceover artists is currently making his living telling the dirtiest, filthiest jokes imaginable.

Gilbert Gottfried: Dirty Jokes is just that -- a 50-minute stage act laced with outrageous lewdness. These are the quips you heard in the locker room of junior high, the sort of salacious sexist riffs that are part of almost every male's maturation process. This is humor bluer than a certain Man Group's makeup and it's delivered in that decidedly demented deadpan that Gottfried has more than perfected over the years. "F," "C," "D," "M," and "S" bombs fly hard and fast as the comedian delivers a veritable Jokes from the John version of a nightclub performance. There is very little banter back and forth between comic and crowd; indeed, Gottfried is just there to deliver his compendium of crudity and accept the accolades of his adoring -- and roaring -- fans. Granted, some of this is very funny stuff. But even Gottfried admits -- albeit indirectly -- that every joke here eventually starts to sound the same.

How much you enjoy Dirty Jokes then will depend directly on your propensity toward the prurient. If you think that ridiculously randy descriptions of the physical act of sexual intercourse are a rib-tickling delight, if you find the notion of fudging with feces funny, if genitalia-based jibes consistently crack you up, you'll love this DVD. Gottfried has unearthed some of the best examples of the gratuitous gag genre and delivers them with directness and expert timing. But be warned...again. That's all that there is here. No witty asides. No observational outpourings. While he does do a couple of his famous impressions (hearing "Jerry Seinfeld" cursing like a soused sailor on shore leave is one of the disc's highlights), this comedian seems convinced that in the particularly permissive climate in which we currently live, outright smut sells (and he's right, by the way). So that is what he delivers. These porno-like pontifications are often hilarious, but t! hey definitely speak to a certain type of audience. If you are not among the lovers of vulgarly vile funny filth, you may want to cut a wide swath around this release. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy the perverted depravity.

The DVD presentation of Dirty Jokes is kind of clever. You can play the entire performance, pick certain jokes, or move over to the bonus features to see some of the vintage Gottfried that a lot of fans remember. You haven't lived until you've heard the comic channel Groucho (the very old and quite senile version), mimic Brando, or explain why his classic post-9/11 Friar's Club roast routine for Hugh Hefner is not part of the digital package. This is the eccentric oddball Gottfried that many of us know and love, the man who once wondered why Moby Dick, being a big whale and all, would merely settle for biting off Captain Ahab's leg. After all, that's only a minor morsel for the huge mammal. Anyway, this collection of comic bits, almost none of which revolve around dirty humor, is a nice addition to the DVD. It helps people who may not know the comic's "clean" persona experience his wit and wisdom without a wealth of foul language (though there is some of tha! t as well).

In the technical department, the disc comes up audio and video aces. The 1.33:1 full frame image is color and clear, with just some minor moments of grain in an otherwise excellent presentation. The Dolby Digital Stereo more or less delivers the nightclub feel, with Gottfried coming in loud and proud from the front speakers while the audience laughs and applauds from the side channels.

In the current comedy cavalcade, where humor has been micromanaged down to issues of ethnicity, financial wherewithal and Red State/Blue State morays, it is nice to witness something as unabashedly individualist as Gilbert Gottfried: Dirty Jokes. This very antithesis of the pro-PC movement may not be the funniest hour in the history of humor, but thanks to the comedian's clear way with a quip, you'll find more grins than groaners here.

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Scales of Justice
Judgment: 89

Perp Profile
Studio: Image Entertainment
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 49 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Legendary Post 9/11 Gilbert Gottfried Roast for Hugh Hefner
* Gilbert on Brando
* Recollections and Fond Memories of Famous Friends
* Gilbert on Being Compared to Barrymore
* Gilbert on Groucho
* Dracula
* Gilbert on Karloff
* How to Tell a Dirty Joke

Accomplices
* IMDb: Gilbert Gottfried
http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0331906/

* Official site
http://www.gilbertgottfried.com/