Judge Roy Hrab cooks with midlife spices.
"This business kills you as you get older."
Greg Giraldo (Lewis Black's Root Of All Evil) has made many an appearance on Comedy Central Roast, mocking celebrities including Chevy Chase, William Shatner, Bob Saget, and Pamela Anderson. This release, Greg Giraldo: Midlife Vices, presents Giraldo performing a stand-up routine at the Union Square Theatre in New York City.
In his Comedy Central special, Giraldo races through a gamut of topics, including energy policy, relationships between old people, kangaroos, divorce, John McCain, koalas, the appropriate age to begin drinking and taking up other vices, stem cells, and steroids in baseball. The material is very off-color, filled with plenty of cursing and raunchy jokes, and not for the easily offended. While some of the bits are genuinely funny, many produce a laugh because of the shocking language and graphic images Giraldo invokes. It's laughter from being uncomfortable rather than from being amused. It's hard to tell where the balance ultimately lies.
There is also a noticeable "sad clown," dark edge to Giraldo's routine. He makes numerous references and jokes about having been a heavy drinker in the past. These jokes are difficult to enjoy because it is clear that this problem had a significantly negative impact on his life.
Last, near the end of the performance, Greg spots a sleeping audience member and spends an inordinate amount of time trying to strike up a dialogue with the man. However, it doesn't really go anywhere as the guy in the audience appears to be completely out of it, as if trying to sleep off the effect of booze or some other substance. Giraldo seems thrown off by the whole incident, not knowing how to proceed, and it's unclear whether he's upset or amused by the event.
The technical presentation is solid as per most Comedy Central live performance releases. The video is clean and detailed with strong color. The stereo audio is crystal clear. All of Giraldo's jokes can be heard without any problems.
There are two extras. The first is an episode of Comedy Central Presents featuring Greg from 2000. It features a similar, but cleaner, routine. I think it's better than the feature performance because it is less focused on shocking the audience and delivered in a much tighter timeframe. The other extra is a "Never Before Seen Adult Content Pilot" produced in 2006, but never aired. It looks like it was supposed to be a comedy-based sex show with Giraldo as host. It doesn't really work, primarily because Greg looks uncomfortable reading off a teleprompter and having to look directly at the camera.
Greg Giraldo: Midlife Vices is an uneven bit of stand-up comedy. Greg has a talent for telling vivid stories. There some hits, but also plenty of misses. I've seen much better, but I've also seen much worse. Take a chance on it via rental, or not.
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