Shout! Factory // 2009 // 44 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Gordon Sullivan // January 12th, 2010
The Emmy-Nominated Comedy Special Comes to DVD!
In one of the extra bits included on this DVD, Kathy Griffin calls out to her gay fans, her lesbian fans, and her female fans. Then she says something like "Straight guys, I've got nothing for you," and then admonishes them to go back to sleep. Despite my membership in the "sleeping" demographic and my general unfamiliarity with Kathy Griffin (I've seen neither her standup nor her reality show), I found Kathy Griffin: She'll Cut a Bitch to be an engaging peek into Griffin's life complete with honest moments and some genuinely funny observations.
The comedy ranges from Griffin's experiences backstage at both the Emmy and Grammy awards to her first trip to Cher's home in Malibu. We also get an update on Griffin's alcoholic mother, and her catchphrase ("Tip it!" -- referring to the box of wine). These are almost exclusively personal observations about her experiences in life, especially in Hollywood. The humor comes out of the insane situations she finds herself in (sharing an awards show table with Tracy Morgan, who is trying to make her laugh, while Oprah is onstage delivering the opening speech), or Griffin's candid responses and honest talk (the title She'll Cut a Bitch comes from a compliment she bestows on strong women). Although she refers to herself as a "queen" on occasion and obviously appreciates her gay audience, as a straight guy I never felt particularly left out. Even the over-the-top discussions of Cher's wardrobe were short and funny enough to allow me to appreciate them.
My only serious complaint with this show is the way in which it is edited. It was obviously cut to fit inside an hour slot with commercials, and that shows in a number of bits. Some moments, like Griffin's discussion of Cher, just seem to end with a hard cut to a new bit. I wouldn't mind it so much if they didn't take out some bits that Griffin refers to multiple times later. Only watching the cut bits on the DVD revealed that certain jokes were returning bits from excised material. I know they have to cut the show down for broadcast, but this is the most inelegantly edited standup show I've seen.
Part of the problem is the DVD. Some (maybe all? it's hard to say) of the cut bits are included as bonus features, but there's no way to watch the show with the cut bits put back in. If it were just a few random jokes I might be okay with consigning them to the extras, but these are moments that come back several times, and the material amounts to over 10 minutes of comedy. As it is the DVD should include an option to watch both versions of Griffin's appearance in Portland.
The rest of the DVD is fine. The 1.78:1 transfer is anamorphic and looks as good as a comedy special needs to, while the audio track strikes a fine balance between keeping Griffin audible and the audience response authentic. The only extras are those cut bits mentioned earlier.
I should note that the back cover promises a run-time of +/- 60 Minutes. This is a 45-minute special, at best, with credits, so that's a bit misleading. There might be 60 minutes of material if you include the "unaired" bits, but still that's a pretty big plus or minus range. Fans should know what they're getting before plunking down the money for this DVD.
Based on Griffin's reputation, I expected to be shocked quite a bit more with this special. Maybe I've been desensitized by years of shock comics, but there just didn't seem to be that much outlandish material on here. The audience, however, seems to enjoy it, so I can only assume that longtime fans of Griffin's standup will find something to appreciate.
There's no need to cut me, I think She'll Cut a Bitch is not guilty.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 44 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Deleted Scenes