"Can you please turn down the volume on this OFFENSIVE LOUDMOUTH??!!—Judge Lineberger's better half
The challenge: To write this review without…damn it, I couldn't even write the first sentence. Laughing. That was going to be the challenge. The CD portion of the DVD/CD combo Dane Cook: Harmful if Swallowed is playing right now as I type. It has taken me about 15 minutes to get this far, because dude keeps making me laugh.
Dane Cook is a refreshing mix of old-school comedy and offbeat physical comedy. Dane invokes standby riffs such as driving, racial differences, and the adaptability of the "f-bomb" (interspersed with healthy amounts of colorful language) that give his comedy a comfortable familiarity. But when he starts talking about punching bees in the face, you realize this man has new angles to spin.
Comedy Central has packaged the DVD with an hour-long CD (or the CD with a DVD, depending on your point of view). I'm considering the CD to be the feature and the DVD an extra, even though it goes against the very principles of DVD Verdict. Why? The audio is funnier. I can't really explain it. The DVD is good and everything, but the energy and vibe come through clearer when it is just you and the two speakers. Dane does outrageous tricks with the mic, such as his laugh-out-loud funny bit about the Burger King drive through. There are dry spells, but Dane packs quite a few laughs into the hour. He accomplishes this through quick set up. Comics like Bill Cosby take time to set up the situation, creating intricate scenarios that are mined later for comedic effect. Dane goes for the quick attack, shifting gears every couple of minutes. Chances are, if the current bit isn't amusing you, the next one will.
You have to admire a grown man who admits he was terrified of the Kool Aid Man. A man who then turns around and punches a shark in the face. Then runs around in his underwear. Yes, Dane is versatile. If you asked me when the CD wasn't playing, I'd say he was kinda dumb. But for some reason, his weird brand of comedy works while you are listening. The CD is well worth a spin. You will probably find yourself laughing at some of the lines later in the week.
The DVD is not too shabby. It seems that Comedy Central raked together all of Dane's footage and put it in there. We get the standard "Comedy Central Presents," which is a slickly edited 22 minutes of standup. The unedited version is much longer, though it contains a lot of filler. Certain removed words and gestures are put back in. There are also two brief comedy shorts, which overlap much of their material. Of the two, "Comics Come Home 5" has more energy and generates more laughs. But it is fascinating to watch Dane work around the mama funking censors who accosted him back stage before the show in "Premium Blend." As a whole, these performances are decent and contain funny sight gags. Yet almost all of the material on the DVD is present in the CD, where it is uncensored, rawer, and much funnier.
Will Dane Cook have staying power enough to become a time-tested favorite? The jury is still out, but Dane Cook: Harmful if Swallowed is an encouraging start with charisma to spare.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Comedy Central
• Comedy Central Presents (aired version)
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