Judge Aaron Bossig is uncool, but he didn't feel the need to make a DVD about it.
"There's a lot of young dudes here tonight. And you're like, 'I ain't going out like that, bro.' Oh yes, motherfucker, you are."—Greg Behrendt
Were I actually at one of Greg Behrendt's shows, I could easily see myself sitting in the front row, with a smile on my face but little else to show for the evening. Throughout the act, Behrendt raves about musicians, growing old, and the importance of image. The performance captured on the DVD is fun, but not funny. The show is titled Greg Behrendt is Uncool, and yes, it really is an evening of soul-searching for the comedian. In the end, he realizes that indeed, he no longer fits the definition of "cool" that he assigned himself in his youth.
What was "cool"? To Greg, it was listening to the trendiest music, having exceptional air guitar skills, and being able to rebel with credibility. What he considers funny is that, while his tastes haven't changed, his lifestyle has. He makes jokes about raising kids while, in many ways, he still wants to be a teenager. Greg Behrendt's humor involves a lot of opinionating. Essentially, he puts forth an opinion, then adds to it and elaborates upon it, until finally he takes it to an absurd conclusion, at which point he waits for the audience to laugh. The trouble is, they're only laughing because they agree with what he's saying, not really because what he said was funny. For example, consider the following snippet:
"I'm like, 'Hey, man, my Compact Disc player's broke…' But the dude can't let it lay there, because he's young. Looks at me, looks at the Compact Disc player, looks back at me, looks back at the Compact Disc player, opens up the Compact Disc player, takes out the Compact Disc and goes:
"'Here's your problem, dude. You listen to shitty music.'
"'Uh, first off, Duran Duran were a vital…You never been 'Hungry Like the Wolf', bitch?…"Her Name is Rio" and you can step the fuck outside, my friend! It's on, okay, yeah, let's go to the gun show!' "
I found the exchange amusing, even clever. However, it didn't make me laugh. The audience didn't exactly roar, either. Greg Behrendt did get a rather vocal reaction just by mentioning Duran Duran. The audience went wild at the 80s pop reference. However, that doesn't make for good stand-up comedy. Fandom aside, is there anything inherently funny about liking Duran Duran? No. What Behrendt has done is give us a setup without a punchline, a technique he will repeat throughout the show. He's getting the audience to agree with him, but that's not the same as making them laugh.
Since stand-up comedy typically performed live, capturing the audience's reaction helps capture the full experience. Looking at the people attending the show, you'll see a medium-sized crowd greatly enjoying themselves. They're grinning; they're nodding; they're waving in agreement. You can almost hear them thinking, "Yes! What this guy is saying is so true! He's so clever!" What you don't see, though, is a lot of genuine laughter. No one is in total stitches, nor are they holding their sides. This backs up my initial impression of Greg: he can work the crowd, but he can't quite get the laughs out. Examining the audience a little further, we find an amusing trend: a large percentage of the audience is composed of very good-looking girls. It's a very clever way of making a mediocre DVD more watchable.
Brushing aside all the pretty ladies, all that's left is Greg. Despite an impressive resume featuring work on Sex and the City and co-authoring a best-selling book, his stand-up isn't very noteworthy. He's not the first comedian to base an entire routine around getting old, and it doesn't seem like Greg has brought anything new to the table. The extras are even sillier—a short about defining "cool" and another featuring musicians discussing Greg's music. That's all, folks, there's really nothing here that warrants a recommendation.
Greg Behrendt is found guilty on one count of poor stand-up. His comedic license is hereby revoked. From now on, the title of this disc, Greg Behrendt is Uncool, is in no way to be considered paradoxical. The man simply is uncool.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
• "What is Cool?"
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