Judge Chris Claro was slightly leery to take on this assignment.
Funny for fundraising.
All sinew and prowl, Denis Leary has been a comedy mainstay for over twenty years. Stalking the stage, barking out bits of spittle-flecked observations, Leary the standup became Leary the actor/writer/producer, the driving force behind the long-running FX series, Rescue Me.
Always there for a cause, Leary has logged thousands of hours raising money through comedy for the Cam Neely Foundation. Named for the former NHL player, the foundation provides research and care for cancer patients and their families. He's also started his own charity, the Leary Firefighters Foundation, which provides funds and equipment to fire departments across the country. Denis Leary and Friends Present Douchebags and Donuts is a concert to benefit the foundation.
Whether you're a fan of his material or not, there's no doubting Leary's commitment to both causes and comedy and Douchebags and Donuts opens with Leary doing almost a full hour of standup as well as singing an original song. The material is standard Leary, more attitude and posturing than actual comic insight, and his targets, including the Catholic church and Senator Larry Craig, are not only easy, but past their sell-by dates. That same staleness permeates the material of each of Leary's "friends," including Whitney Cummings, a young female standup whose material covers the overtrodden ground of men vs. women, including differences in their sex drives, and just what a "happy ending" means to each. Cummings's brash self-assuredness is helpful in selling her well-worn comic wares.
Veteran standup Lenny Clarke, one of Leary's co-stars from Rescue Me, follow Cummings and also gets no points for originality. The jovial and formerly rotund Clarke gets a lot of mileage out of his recent weight loss, but his material, focused mainly on being the only guy in an entirely female Weight Watchers group is trite and relies on recognition and cliche, not originality.
Adam Ferrara, another of Leary's Rescue Me compadres, rounds out the set, with an equally uninspired set focused on the ways women trumpet their superiority over each other through the use of jewelry, shoes, and purses. As with the performers who precede him, Ferrara relies on dull bits that make Douchebags and Donuts an overlong bore.
Well shot at New York's Town Hall, Douchebags and Donuts has a slick look and the musical numbers that Leary performs with his group the Enablers and the Rehab Horns, rock, thanks to the Dolby 5.1 surround sound. Extras include two additional musical performances and tour bus footage of Leary, Clarke and the band traveling to dates around the country.
Comedy for a cause is a valiant effort, but it's hard to be charitable to performers whose material is so pedestrian. Well-produced but unsatisfying, Denis Leary and Friends Present Douchebags and Donuts is a noble failure.
Guilty by reason of hackery.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Comedy Central
• Musical Performances
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