HBO // 2005 // 60 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // July 20th, 2005
"America: 20 million illegal immigrants can't be wrong!" -- Richard Jeni's slogan to fight anti-Americanism
From Richard Jeni: A Big Steaming Pile Of Me:
"Savagely funny, comic Richard Jeni stars in his third and all new HBO special, Richard Jeni: A Big Steaming Pile Of Me. Jeni is one of America's most popular stand-up performers, and this hour-long frantic performance showcases his witty observations, extraordinary talent for physical comedy and impeccable sense of timing."
Richard Jeni: A Big Steaming Pile Of Me was filmed at the Irvine Barclay Theater in Irvine, California. From the very beginning of the show it's full-speed-ahead as Jeni shreds a host of topics including: politics, religion, relationships, and the scandals of the rich and famous. It's an uproarious stand-up event that will leave you hungry for more!"
It seems that an HBO comedy special is released every week. Or maybe it's just me. Either way, it looks like Richard Jeni is up next on the docket. I'm familiar with Jeni only from the movie The Mask, the comedian's only major film role. He was pitted against Jim Carrey at the height of Carrey's fame, so I'm sure he won't be offended if you don't really remember him.
Richard Jeni: A Big Steaming Pile Of Me is a slightly amusing one-hour special, but not much else. After I finished watching Richard Jeni: A Big Steaming Pile Of Me, I realized that I had very little to say about it. The fact is that while Jeni can be a funny guy, there isn't a whole lot here that differentiates him from the gaggle of comedians popping up all over Comedy Central, HBO, and Showtime.
Jeni's brand of humor, as he says himself, is tailor-made to offend. And offend it does, but not in a way that really makes you mad. His biggest mistake is that he starts off the show with observations about pop singer Michael Jackson and his salacious career and personal life. A few of the bits are mildly humorous, but let's be honest: targeting Michael Jackson for jokes is like shooting fish in a barrel. No wait, it's easier than that: it's like shooting fish taped to the end of your gun.
Jeni then moves into a bevy of topics, including liberals, conservatives, Jesus Christ, poverty, and men and woman. It's all pretty standard stuff and nothing you haven't seen before. Maybe I had an off night, but nothing stuck with me after watching this show. I didn't find myself laughing very often and, though Jeni appears to be a talented man, his wit isn't special enough (at least in this HBO special) to make him someone I'd need to revisit.
If you liked The Mask and are curious to know what Jeni's been up to, by all means take a look at Richard Jeni: A Big Steaming Pile Of Me. It may be your type of humor. Otherwise, I can't recommend it unless Bill Cosby: Himself and Jerry Seinfeld: I'm Telling You For The Last Time are rented out.
Richard Jeni: A Big Steaming Pile Of Me is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame. There isn't a whole lot to report on this transfer. The colors and black levels are in good shape while any major imperfections are mostly absent. It's a stand-up comedy show and as such the transfer does the job that's needed.
The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo in English. Much like the video presentation, this sound mix does the job and little else. Jeni's observations are heard loud and clear with a minimum of hiss or distortion. No alternate soundtracks or subtitles are available on this disc.
HBO has decided not to include any special features on this edition of Richard Jeni: A Big Steaming Pile Of Me.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated