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Case Number 12926: Small Claims Court

Buy The Best Of Comedy Central Presents at Amazon

The Best Of Comedy Central Presents

Comedy Central // 1999 // 176 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Roy Hrab (Retired) // February 7th, 2008

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All Rise...

Judge Roy Hrab never mixes comedy with standing-up.

The Charge

What do you get when you cram 8 of today's hottest comics onto one disc?

The Case

This collection from Comedy Central presents a very mixed bag of routines from 8 stand-up comedians who appeared on Comedy Central Presents between 1999 and 2005. Each act is a little over 20 minutes long. So, what do we have here? The results are decidedly mixed.

Lewis Black: I am no fan of Black (Lewis Black: Unleashed). I find his bombastic, rant-like delivery grating after a few minutes. He does his usual shtick here, including observations on the Super Bowl half-time show and commercials, religion, and the state of music. If you like Black, you'll like this. I did not.
Grade: C+

Dane Cook: Why is Cook (Good Luck Chuck) popular? He riffs about his dreams of wanting to be a rock star, a snake (?), and the Alien from Aliens (he actually does a dead-on impression of the Alien). Other material includes bits on the DMV, church, and, I must admit, a pretty funny spot about working at a Burger King drive-through. There are some laughs here, but I find Cook's hyperactive act and shouting off-putting.
Grade: B

Jeff Dunham: Ventriloquist acts still exist? Who knew? Dunham (Delta Farce) trots out a series of characters: the nerdish Melvin ("the Superhero Guy"), the manic and Muppet-like Peanut, José Jalapeño (a jalapeño pepper with a sombrero and mustache), and Walter, a grumpy and sour-faced old man. I didn't really get into the act, partially because I didn't find the material funny, but also because of the way Dunham's performance is filmed; note to Comedy Central: The illusion of a ventriloquist act is shattered when the camera goes in too close on the ventriloquist's face.
Grade: C

Jim Gaffigan: I am a Gaffigan (Jim Gaffigan: Beyond The Pale) fan and saw him perform live earlier this year. For those who know Gaffigan, the classic "Hot Pocket" routine is not here, but he does talk about buying bottled water, the Manatee, and his laziness. This routine isn't as well developed as his current material, but it is solid and the best on this DVD.
Grade: A-

Mitch Hedberg: The inclusion of Hedberg (Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist) is odd. I say this because the DVD case states that the disc contains "8 of today's hottest comics." Hedberg died of a drug overdose on March 2005. His well-known surrealist/bizarre observational comedic style is very much on display here. Hedberg makes remarks on why escalators can never break, his hatred of turtlenecks, and why receipts for doughnut purchases are unnecessary. It is a good routine.
Grade: A-

Demetri Martin: This is an odd routine. I think the problem is that Martin's (Demetri Martin. Person.) delivery sounds too polished. It sounds like he has memorized his routine and is just reciting material. Nothing appears spontaneous. This may be a result of this performance being his first special, but I'm not familiar with his work, so I'm not sure. Another problem, for me anyways, is Martin's over reliance on gimmicks (i.e., a flip chart and a weird musical/performance) that appear to be done for novelty rather than comedic value.
Grade: C

Carlos Mencia: Mencia (Mind Of Mencia: Uncensored Volume One) is very loud. Very, very loud. Why? I'm not sure. This routine not politically correct and is filled with racial jokes (e.g., Asians, Arabs, and Hispanics), and observations about living in America and 9/11. It did not connect with me.
Grade: C-

Brian Regan: This is a solid workmanlike performance by Regan (Brian Regan: Standing Up). He makes cracks about food, exercise, healthy living, and his optometrist. It is the most "standard" comedic routine on the set.
Grade: B+

This collection will not bowl you over and, on balance, the routines are weak. However, comedy is extremely subjective and I know that many will disagree with my ratings of the performances. So, take a gander if you want. Still, at best, this is only worth renting.

The video and audio presentations are fine for the purposes of the material. After all, this is stand-up comedy.

There are a limited number of extras, comprised of short clips from The Colbert Report, Lil' Bush, The Sarah Silverman Program, and South Park. Nothing memorable to report here.

Bottom line: If this truly represents the "Best" of Comedy Central Presents then the state of stand-up comedy in America is in trouble.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 72

Perp Profile

Studio: Comedy Central
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 176 Minutes
Release Year: 1999
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Comedy
• Performance
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Comedy Central Quickies


• IMDb
• Official Site

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