Comedy Central // 2009 // 85 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Kristin Munson (Retired) // February 9th, 2009
"I am just a very thin layer of charming, with some funny sprinkles, wrapped around a huge, creamy center of arrogant a-hole." -- Christopher Titus
Christopher Titus has spent most of his career mining his family dysfunction, including two stand-up specials and three seasons of his own sitcom, but with Christopher Titus: Love Is Evol, he finally seems to be scraping the bottom of that barrel. Weirdly enough, that's what makes this gig so funny.
Eighty-five minutes would kill most comedians, but Titus' sets are more like monologues that walk the line between achingly funny and slightly horrifying. Both Norman Rockwell Is Bleeding and 5th Annual End of the World Tour felt like very public therapy sessions, and over the course of Evol, Titus transitions from using comedy as catharsis to dissecting the here and now for laughs.
Evol is loosely divided into three sections: Titus' past dating experience, his divorce, and his new relationship. Instead of bouncing from bit to tired bit about the differences between men and women, he uses his own incredibly messed up experiences to explore why any of us put up with the crap that we do. I've never been stabbed for sticking it out too long with a significant other, but I can still relate.
The comic's divorce is a fresh wound, which makes some stories more bitter and one-sided than usual, but it also means that he avoids a lot of the post-fatherhood, post-9/11 sap that clogged up 5th Annual End of the World Tour. On the flip side, when he gets talking about venturing back into the dating world, he absolutely nails that vulnerable stupidity we've all experienced, even if most of us never dated anyone whose family could be bribed with crystal meth. Titus has always been just as willing to point and laugh at his own idiotic moments as he is his family's and he has some choice tales about how trying to impress his new girlfriend went horribly wrong.
I don't know why I'm putting so much analysis into this when "funny" is such a subjective animal. Let me put it this way: when I watch DVDs by myself, I very rarely laugh out loud, but midway through Love Is Evol I was muffling myself with a blanket because of the filthy looks I was getting from the cat. The only really DOA moment is an endless bit where an abusive girlfriend is portrayed as a Nazi interrogator and a running thread involving Titus' "inner retard" is the kind of Neanderthal stuff I expect from Carlos Mencia.
The DVD itself is your typical widescreen, 2.0 set up and I have no complaints about either transfer. The show's lighting scheme does uses intense reds and greens that are almost too bright, especially against the widescreen bars, and the camera likes to get uncomfortably close to the comic's face, but that's on the producers and not Comedy Central.
Three bonus features round out the presentation, which is unusual for a comedy DVD. "Countdown to V-Day" is a collection of 14 shorts with Titus dishing up advice on how to approach the big day (If you're a straight guy, anyway), covering everything from the language of flowers to pulling off a February 14th Hail Mary, which involves a plushie the size of pony. Audience members share their worst dating experiences in "Love on the Rocks" and "Titus vs. Cupid" is a toothless montage of clips from the DVD cover shoot.
Love Is Evol isn't a great DVD, but it's still a very good one. The special can't match Norman Rockwell Is Bleeding, but it's a solid rental at least.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Comedy Central
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 85 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated