I'm Telling You For the Last Time.
Jerry Seinfeld, one of the most famous comedians alive, ironically has done only two HBO specials in his career. Probably because of that little television show bearing his name that stayed at the top of the ratings for 9 years and ended its stint still on top. After deciding to quit his show, Jerry stunned people by also deciding to quit using his old material. This, his second HBO special done in 1998, was the last performance of his usual brand of observational humor. It is a fitting tribute to the man who made minutiae a career. HBO's release of this special, a live performance, on DVD is outstanding if a little sparse.
The disc has a unique introduction for a comedy show: a funeral. Dead and being buried is all of Jerry's old jokes, while many famous comedians look on and sob. Fortunately before we can bury all the little bits of humor Jerry finds in daily life, he has one more show to do, and is "telling us for the last time." You know the type of humor I'm talking about: "About this Tide commercial: If you have a shirt with bloodstains all over it, maybe laundry isn't your biggest problem right now." From airports to bathrooms, from supermarkets to McDonalds, and the ever-interesting pull between men and women, Jerry has snippets of life to bring up, and make us laugh in the commonality of experience.
Jerry is doing the same old thing you have seen him do before, even just as little scenes during his television show. But this relaxed man with the fine suit and shiny tie rarely needs theatrics or anything other than his dry wit and matter-of-fact delivery. Here Jerry is on familiar turf playing to a New York audience. The show itself lasts just over an hour, but with the introduction and bonus encore goes about 75 minutes. I still get quite a few laughs from it even after repeated viewings.
The show was fine, and so is the picture and sound. This was taped for HBO, and therefore it is a full frame transfer, though quite clear and sharply detailed. Colors are fine though perhaps the fleshtones were a little toward beige. Just a smidgen. Overall it has a very nice, transparent look.
The sound is just stereo, but does a fine job. Pretty much the whole show is dialogue and crowd laughter and applause, so that's what you get. Audience sounds comprise all of what you might hear from the surround speakers with a Pro-Logic decoder, but the comedy comes from squarely in front, and all is clearly heard and understood.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
The extras are really light, though what is there is fine. There is a 5 minute encore that is just a small Q&A session with Jerry, though he does a little piece leading up to his famous "Hello, Newman" from the show. Other than that a few pages of text biography are it. The menu is static but functional, nothing special. Certainly an interview would have been great.
It's a pretty good show, and the disc sells for $14 online, so it won't take a big bite out of your wallet. While there is nothing except the show to really make you feel you need to jump up and buy it, it's worth what you pay for it. Of course a rental isn't a bad way to go either; some people only like to see a stand up comedy show once.
Jerry Seinfeld is free to live his life any way he chooses, though I hope he gets back to full time comedy soon. HBO has done a respectable job of bringing one of their comedy specials, from one of the best liked comedians around, to DVD and is therefore acquitted.
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