Judge Daniel Kelly isn't aged, but he's permanently confused.
Comedians using middle age as fodder for their acts is nothing particularly strange, and now Texan Bill Engvall is getting in on the theme with his latest, Aged and Confused. A modestly pleasing stand-up outing, Aged and Confused sees Engvall exploit his comic abilities to solid effect and tell some amusing jokes over the show's 67 minute duration.
Engvall has been beeping his comic horn for well over a decade now and has amassed a decent reputation and a credible roster of fans over the years. He's never going to be as celebrated as Chris Rock or as immensely popular as Dane Cook, but overall Engvall deserves a small spot on the American comedy hall of fame. Aged and Confused finds the performer into his 50's and reminiscing on all sorts of topics, from vacations, to his sex life, to the fact he's getting far too old for the clubbing scene. It's not a massively original set, but Aged and Confused does have some very funny moments and Engvall's warm and likable stage presence keep you engaged, even through the weaker material.
At 67 minutes, it's a generous stand-up act, not massive in length but certainly large enough to satisfy. Engvall has mastered the art of joke transition and delivery over the years allowing Aged and Confused a relaxed and pleasurable flow whilst still retaining an organized structure of sorts. This isn't a messy comic offering but rather a skillfully constructed and smoothly operated slice of well planned tomfoolery, not always hysterical but well rendered and displaying a solid understanding of the mechanics for good comedy. Engvall also has an understated energy and enthusiasm whilst he performs, nothing as manic as some of today's famous comedians, but packing enough gusto to spice up his jokes and offer the performance a little added flair.
His nice-guy demeanor is also a positive point and definitely helps in excusing some of the less inventive jokes; Engvall honestly seems like the sort of guy you could happily have a beer with. Throughout his act he exhibits an admirable love for family values and an attractive modestly concerning his own success, retaining the aura of the lovable everyman. His comedy has some sexual humor but it isn't smutty or vulgar and profanities are extremely rare during his performance of Aged and Confused. Instead Engvall places more weight in his acute and clinical delivery, which much like his personality actually compensates nicely for his occasionally patchy writing.
The jokes themselves aren't strung out or abused but there are a few that don't really work. During the show's running I'd say about 65 percent of the material is good or better with the other 35 percent a little less convincing. Engvall is much too efficient a comedian to be pushing any appallingly unfunny gags but there are times when the comedy feels tepid and the lack of creativeness becomes a serious problem. However in fairness as I've mentioned before the successful jokes far outweigh the bad and that's definitely a key factor in any robust comedy show. A bonus track is also included on the DVD.
Not one to add to your permanent collection, but comedy fans should certainly
give this respectable title a rental.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
• Bonus Track
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