Shout! Factory // 2008 // 70 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // November 5th, 2008
The Roastmaster General comes home.
Jeffrey Ross is likely most recognizable as the omnipresent one-liner-spewing machine from the Friars Brothers Roasts. He was also on Dancing with the Stars for like nine seconds this season. If you've ever seen the guy in his stand-up element though, you'd know he's funny -- for my money, his roasts are always the best -- so I went into this, his first Comedy Central stand-up special and the first time he's done such a large venue in his home state of New Jersey, with moderate-to-high expectations.
The short of it: I wasn't disappointed. Ross is very funny here, employing his well-known sarcasm-spiced delivery to great effect, and using it to some unleash legitimately funny -- and potty-mouthed, FWIW -- material.
Ross tackles a variety of subjects including sex (why can't you transfer skills, through intercourse?), politics (John McCain at a candlelight vigil was actually blowing out candles on his birthday cake), the agony of telling people you're from New Jersey (I'm from New York! Where in New York? New...Jersey...), the awkwardness of pleasuring one's self in the hotel lobby because that's the only place where you can get Wifi, ever-involving technology (DVDVDVDVDVDs and VCRCRCRCRCRs) and the terror of horny, hotel-room-trashing al qaida operatives.
The odd thing about this set is, about two-thirds in, Ross jumps from traditional stand-up to reading "love poems" and piano-playing audience members. It's random and awkward, but turns out to be the funniest segment of the entire feature. Ross invites two people from the audience to join him on stage, and has them play piano in the background as he reads off some of his poetry. The poetry isn't very amusing in itself, but Ross's banter with his guests is priceless. Of course -- SPOILER WARNING! -- Ross reveals in the feature commentary that Larry the Toll Booth Worker, who was up with him for the bulk of the time, was actually a plant. That takes some of the charm out what seemed to be an organically conceived bit, but it was funny nonetheless.
Overall, this is a more-than-funny-enough way to spend 55 minutes. The DVD: a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, 5.1 surround, commentary with Jeffrey Ross and director Jay Karas, bonus footage and a nice making-of documentary.
Review content copyright © 2008 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 70 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Footage