One of the hottest comedians around, Kevin James has shot to stardom via his hit sitcom The King of Queens. A good friend to Ray Romano, James has continued with his wacky "observational humor" with his own unique stand-up special on Comedy Central. Kevin James: Sweat the Small Stuff is an hour long show featuring James ranting and raving about things that bug him. People eating fruit at a baseball game. Long phone messages when you have to go to the bathroom. The dangers (both physical and emotional) of water skiing. Yes, Kevin James covers it all, his loud voice and hefty demeanor bouncing around stage as he goes from topic to topic. Strap in and get ready for a few rounds with Kevin James: Sweat the Small Stuff.
It seems that by this point every comedian and his mother have tried their hands at having their own TV show. Though there have been many failures—Chevy Chase, Margaret Cho, Nathan Lane—there have also been a lot of success stories. Drew Carey, Jerry Seinfeld, and Ray Romano have all had smash hit sitcoms, each one finding their audience with quick wit and a genial personality. From out of nowhere came Kevin James in The King of Queens, a show that initially garnered buzz due to Jerry Stiller's return to TV after Seinfeld's run. With the success of his show, James has gone on to host his own special Kevin James: Sweat the Small Stuff. Though I don't think I'd consider myself a fan, I can see why people like James—he's a amiable everyman who knows how to get the laugh. Many of his bits come from everyday activities. While talking about running through the velvet ropes at a bank, James quips that "there'd better be a hunk of cheese at the end of this line!" His rant about going through a drive-thru at McDonalds and dropping a dime out of his exact change is funny—who hasn't had to reach in between the seat and the stick shift to collect the final piece to your payment puzzle? However, the reason that James never bowled me over was in his delivery—as a substitute for wit, James uses volume as a punch line. This is funny in a few instances, but they call to mind far too often Chris Farley's larger-than-life antics and expressions. Those qualms aside, James shows that he's got a great sense of humor and a sometimes skewed perspective. Hey, how can you not like a guy who observes that "I've either got to get in shape or hope ponchos come back into style." For fans of his sitcom, this is required viewing.
Kevin James: Sweat the Small Stuff is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame. Since this was shot for TV, it's not surprising to find this to be a lackluster transfer. However, though it doesn't have the sparkle of something like The Mummy (and it doesn't need to), the transfer looks very good with colors and black levels all solid and well defined. Basically, this image works fine for the Comedy Central special it's supporting. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo in English. Much like the video transfer, this sound mix is very apt—the dialogue and music are all clear. No directional effects are present, and none were needed. No alternate subtitles have been included on this disc.
Comedy Central has included a few extra features on this disc. The best is the comedian's appearances on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart discussing the Mets and baseball with the always funny Stewart. A few promotional spots for Kevin James: Sweat the Small Stuff are also included, though they aren't all that exciting. Finally there are Comedy Central quickies featuring some more stand-up comedy by various performers.
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