Image Entertainment // 2010 // 65 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge William Lee (Retired) // October 6th, 2010
"People always mistake me for gay and Jewish and I say you're giving me too much credit."
Janeane Garofalo: If You Will (Blu-Ray) is the comedian's first solo stand-up special in over a decade. She has appeared in movies and on TV but Janeane Garofalo (24 Season 7) is also known as a leftist activist. She was a co-host on the liberal talk radio network Air America from March 2004 to July 2006. Acknowledging that she draws attention for her outspoken politics as often as she's mistaken for Kathy Bates, Garofalo opens her act by listing her depiction in the media to an appreciative, sold-out audience at Seattle's Moore Theatre.
A handful of topical political barbs are tossed during the show but this stand-up performance is a return to the brand of witty narcissism that Garofalo excelled at before comedy became so serious. Over the course of the one-hour show, she riffs on recent pop culture that has been on her radar. She reveals that she watches a lot of crime shows on TV; identifies as a neo-Luddite: "I don't twitter or send out queefs;" and explains the advantages of possessing a low libido. There is something adorable about Garofalo as the neurotic, middle-aged white woman. Her comedy is observant and specific without being mean. Her language is very frank without being offensive. Tapping into her own personal hang-ups, Garofalo makes herself the target of much of the jokes.
The flow of topics is seemingly random, as Garofalo openly refers to a large notepad positioned on stage. It makes the show feel more casual, as though she is trying out new material that's been hurriedly set down on paper. Garofalo often inserts small jokes among longer anecdotes, fully admitting that they are stray thoughts, but her presentation style doesn't hurt the show as a whole. There's a heap of toilet humor as well, for good and ill. While I grinned at most of her material, it was a handful of the poop jokes that garnered the biggest laughs from yours truly. An extended bit about the exquisiteness of Natalie Portman and her nether regions -- and what those regions do -- goes on a little too long. Nevertheless, it's an entertaining performance despite some unpolished material.
Image Entertainment presents the show on a decent Blu-Ray transfer. The high-def image (1080i) uses the AVC codec. Detailing is crisp without being overly sharp. The color saturation is pleasing and shows off the excellent stage lighting that was employed. The DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio is a satisfying audio presentation that's clear, strong and precise. Garofalo's voice is recorded on her handheld microphone and that's isolated in the center speaker. Surround channels pick up the audience reaction around the auditorium.
Two bonus scenes are included on the disc. "Janeane on Pets" (6:00) starts out as a recollection of Garofalo's love of dogs but turns into a darkly funny story and a warning against accepting gifts from fans. "Congressman's Dream" (5:00) sees Rep. Richard Martin (Paul Gilmartin) confronting the comedian on her liberal stance and reunites her with The Majority Report co-host Sam Seder.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Image Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080i)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
Running Time: 65 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Footage