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Case Number 17819: Small Claims Court

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Just For Laughs: Launching Pad

Image Entertainment // 1989 // 85 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Roy Hrab (Retired) // December 2nd, 2009

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All Rise...

Judge Roy Hrab is looking for a lunching pad.

The Charge

Just for laughs?

The Case

The "Just For Laughs" comedy festival in Montreal, Canada, is the world's largest and most famous comedy celebration. Every year top tier comedians flock to the city to perform. Just For Laughs: Launching Pad features thirteen performances claimed to have launched the careers of the following comedians:

1. Ray Romano (1992)
2. Dave Chappelle (1993)
3. Jeff Foxworthy (1991)
4. Drew Carey (1993)
5. Dane Cook (1997)
6. Flight of the Conchords (2004)
7. Jeff Dunham (1991)
8. Rowan Atkinson (1989)
9. George Lopez (1996)
10. Steve Harvey (1993)
11. Russell Peters (2000)
12. Tim Allen (1990)
13. Jon Stewart (1992)

I have two major qualms with this release. First off, some of the comedians had already established themselves by the time they were invited to appear at the Just For Laughs Festival. Tim Allen (The Santa Clause) already had completed a television special before performing at the festival and Home Improvement was only a year away. Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean's Holiday) had the entire Blackadder series under his belt. Drew Carey (The Drew Carey Show) and Ray Romano (Welcome To Mooseport) had appeared on the The Tonight Show before making it to Montreal.

My second gripe is that the Flight of the Conchords performance on this DVD is the same one featured on Just For Laughs: Over The Edge, which was released earlier this year. Isn't anyone paying attention at Image Entertainment? Come on, people!

That all said, how do the acts stack-up? Well, the sets by the established comedians noted above are the most polished and probably the most funny. Allen talks about being a man and power tools. Atkinson does a mimed bit about going on a first date. Romano and Carey do their usual shtick from the early 1990s. As for the legitimate up and comers: Dave Chappelle (Half Baked) riffs on race; Dane Cook (Dane Cook: Vicious Circle) does an amusing bit about Speak-n-Spell; Jon Stewart (The Daily Show) tells political jokes about George Bush, Sr. The funniest of the lot is Russell Peters (Russell Peters: Red, White and Brown), doing his classic "Somebody's gonna get a hurt real bad" routine about his father, who immigrated to Canada from India. However, the other most amusing thing on this release is noticing that Jon Stewart circa 1992 bears a striking resemblance to Andrew Dice Clay (One Night At McCool's) circa 1990.

There is one extra: a short promo about the Just For Laughs Festival. It's only worth watching if you've never heard of the festival before. The production values are decent given the age of much of the footage. The image quality is ok. Ditto for the audio.

The only reason to watch this is to see what these comics looked like years ago—and you can do that for free on YouTube. Furthermore, all these performers have their own specials, shows, and movies on DVD which are much better than anything you'll see here. Pass.

The Verdict

Guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 60

Perp Profile

Studio: Image Entertainment
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 85 Minutes
Release Year: 1989
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genres:
• Comedy
• Performance
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Festival Promo

Accomplices

• IMDb
• Official Site








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