Judge Brett Cullum would like to ask you if your refrigerator is running, and if you have Prince Albert in a can.
Come one, come all 'cause we're having a ball…
Crank Yankers Uncensored: Season Two, Volume One—Okay, so what the hell does this mean? In a move that only makes them look like opportunistic corporate hacks, Comedy Central has decided to split their best season of Crank Yankers into two separate volumes. Anyone else feel like they've just been prank called by some nasty puppets? Crank Yankers Uncensored: Season Two, Volume One includes only fifteen episodes, the first half of season two. It's a good collection of shows, but it's only half there. I'm not too excited by the prospect of shelling out roughly sixty bucks to get an entire season of Crank Yankers once they release the second half. Especially when the show seems to be in endless repeats on Comedy Central.
But for what it's worth, these episodes do include celebrity appearances by Jeff Goldblum (The Fly), Snoop Dogg (Bones), and Seth MacFarlane (creator of Family Guy). Also included in this batch are the crank calling talents of show creators Adam Carolla and Jimmy Kimmel. Both men came from radio (KROQ in Los Angeles), where the crank call was a lost art bordering on a religion, kinda like the Force to the Jedis in the original Star Wars Trilogy. Also along for the ride this season (excuse me—this half of the season): Wanda Sykes, Tony Barbieri, Sarah Silverman, Tracy Morgan, Michael Ian Black, Gilbert Gottfried, Bobcat Goldthwait, David Alan Grier, Dr. Drew Pinsky, and Kevin Nealon. Jim Florentine also makes plenty of calls as "Special Ed"—YAAAY!
Crank Yankers is a simple premise. Celebrities or comedians make crank phone calls; later on a group of puppets act out the calls (on fully-realized sets) to emphasize the humor of what is happening. The cast has to travel to Los Vegas to make the calls, since that is the only place in the nation where this activity isn't explicitly illegal. Many people accuse the show of using actors on both sides of the line, but I think this is all legitimate live crank calling. Sometimes the receiving party realizes what is happening, or has the presence of mind to roll with the joke. But if this were all set up, the calls would go much smoother. When the calls work they are hilarious; when they bomb…at least the puppets look funny.
During the second season, the show became nothing but prank calls. In the first season there were quite a few skits, and even some musical guests on the show (the puppets would act out the band's song). All of those elements were jettisoned by the time these shows hit the air in 2003. Season Two's mantra is "calls, calls, and more calls." The calls themselves are funny, and it seems the whole production is rocking along on a groove of juvenile glee. This is the next generation of—and logical progression of—The Jerky Boys' shtick, and it works like gangbusters.
The DVD set reminds me a lot of the first effort, with one major difference. Extras are a bit more sparse than they were on Crank Yankers: Season One Uncensored. There are no behind-the-scenes features; in fact, there are no featurettes at all this time around. What we get is one unaired call from Mitch Hedberg with puppets, and two "audio only" calls from Snoop Dogg and Adam Carolla. Then we have a gallery of signs and posters that appear in the show, designed by production masters called Funny Garbage. Oh yeah, and a bunch of previews for other Comedy Central shows (some of them forced on you when you insert that first disc). The transfers are full frame, basic stereo, and fine for what they are. Colors look good, and there aren't many traces of artifacts. The clarity is nice, since it allows you to catch some of the details on the sets, which are often as funny as the calls themselves.
Fans should definitely feel taken advantage of with the whole split season approach of Crank Yankers Uncensored: Season Two, Volume One, but take heart that it does include some of the best of the show. If you're just someone who kinda likes Crank Yankers, then I suggest the first volume, because it has more information on the creation of the series, and a nice appearance by Tenacious D. Comedy Central should be subjected to never-ending prank calls from puppets for making this collection so abbreviated. It's not funny when you only get half of something for full price.
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