HBO // 1995 // 64 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Jonathan Weiss (Retired) // June 7th, 2006
Your mama is so nasty that she had to cut her tampon string 'cuz her crabs started bungee jumping.
The dozens is one of the oldest street corner games around. What's the dozens? Maybe George Carlin explained it best when he said, "Ya wanna play the dozens, well, the dozens is a game, but the way I f*** your mother is a g-ddamned shame." You can't get much clearer than that. But if you need an actual rule book or something then here it is in a nutshell: The dozens, or snaps, is when two people try to out-insult each other -- and nothing and nobody is off limits; sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, and especially mothers are all fair game. The winner is the one who gets so vicious, so vivid, and so insulting that the other person has no choice but to try and punch their lights out. Rude? Absolutely. Decidedly un-PC? You betch'yo ass. Funny as hell? Sometimes. And that's the whole idea behind HBO's Snaps.
HBO's Snaps takes the idea of theater sports and turns it on its head. Instead of two teams of improv specialists competing, there are two teams of insult specialists competing. Members from each team take turns facing off against each other, trying their best to be as insulting as possible, and -- based on audience response -- either get to continue or get kicked out of the ring.
There's really not that much to say about Snaps. It's not like a stand-up comedy disc that you might want to buy because you really love a particular comedian's work, and it's not like a documentary on the history of street-corner insults either. If anything, it's more like a game show, except instead of members of the public, it's comedians who are competing. Two notable names that most people will recognize are Tracy Morgan, from Saturday Night Live, and Mo'Nique, from the critically lambasted Phat Girlz. However, since these episodes were shot in 1995, this was taped a couple of years before either of them really hit the mainstream -- and of the two, Mo is the standout snapper.
The biggest surprise about Snaps is that there are only two episodes on the disc. Two. It kind of begs the question: Were there only two episodes ever filmed? It's hard to know, because even the IMDb doesn't have an entry for it. If there were only two episodes, then okay, but if other episodes do exist somewhere in the HBO vault then this would probably have been the time to pull them out of mothballs. C'mon, is there really that big a market out there for a Snaps 2 that this disc shouldn't contain the entire season? As is, it feels pretty measly. As does the one "extra" that gets dominant positioning on the main menu. "Snaps Theatre" is a pretty funny spot-on parody of Masterpiece Theatre, but it's only about three and a half minutes long.
Look, the idea is a good one, and the comedians look like they're having a blast. There's a ton of energy here, and the studio audience is having a blast. You might enjoy it too. There's some pretty scathing stuff here. But is it worth taking out the crowbar to crack open your wallet for the honor of owning your very own copy? If you think it is, then it's obvious that your mama is so stupid that she only has one toe and the ho still bought a pair of flip-flops.
Even though Snaps is so poor that the only way to watch it is to take a copy with you to Best Buy, it's still acquitted -- but just barely.
Review content copyright © 2006 Jonathan Weiss; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 64 Minutes
Release Year: 1995
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Snaps Theatre
* A Snaps Site