HBO // 2011 // 60 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis // August 10th, 2011
That not Hulk's baby. Hulk took a paternity test on Maury Povich.
I'm a big fan of Tracy Morgan (Cop Out); he's a polarizing comedian, but not for recent overblown events. Ever since his criminally underused days on SNL, people have either hated him and wanted his banished from their lives, or they love him and watch even his worst movies. I would take his Astronaut Jones sketches over vaunted favorites like Wayne's World or the Killer Bees any day and, because I'm so firmly in the love him camp, I'm surprised I didn't find Tracy Morgan: Black and Blue as funny as I expected.
For his first ever HBO comedy special, Morgan invades the Apollo Theater in Harlem to a crowd of adoring fans. He got his start at the theater, so begins with some jokes about that, which warm up the crowd nicely. He has great stage presence and takes command of the crowd immediately. He moves on to other topics that are more hit and miss. His physicality and timing are there, but the jokes just aren't all that great. I laughed at times, and his story about meeting the Obamas is quite funny, but extended bits about the differences between black people and white people have been tired for years.
When the bits work, they work very well. Tracy Morgan is a funny man, but there are too many stretches where he beats the joke into the ground and then beats it some more. The crowd seems to be enjoying themselves, and it may be a case where you have to be there to really feel the energy, but it mostly doesn't work on video. He's at his funniest when he performs a character and isn't just telling jokes, but because that only occurs a couple of times in the performance, it leaves me wanting a lot more than he offers. He works blue, attacking people regardless of race, orientation, or capability, and is proud of it; it's no wonder somebody gets offended once in a while. It doesn't make the show any better, but what would comedy be without scandalized listeners.
The DVD is standard issue for an HBO stand-up special. The image and sound are acceptable, but nothing special, and for extras we get about twenty minutes of extra footage that has some pretty funny jokes.
Tracy Morgan: Black and Blue is hard to recommend to anybody beyond Morgan's most fervent fan base. There are a few solid laughs, but too many minutes lack the funny that I'd hoped it would have. A very uneven, very forgettable special.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Footage