Judge Dylan Charles is taking a stand against commentaries on standups.
"Some Material May Offend Your Heritage"—from Russell Peters' website
Russell Peters is a Canadian comedian known mainly for his race-based humor. Arabs, Chinese, Indians, white folks, and black folks all are targets for his humor. Red, White and Brown kicks off with DDR and then quickly moves on to the media, the Middle East, body hair, and deaf people. More about that last bit later.
I've only seen one other of his shows, so I'm perhaps not the best judge of his overall work. But a friend of mine (who thinks he's pretty damn funny) says this is about middling, not the best and not the worst. To me, this is excellent standup comedy. While he's always dancing into very dangerous territory, potentially stepping on numerous mines, Peters never crosses the line into the truly offensive. The biggest reason for that is simply that it's never mean-spirited or angry or based in ignorance. It's always in good fun and whenever the director cuts to the audience, there's a large variety of people there to watch the show from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
For some reason though, once he goes to joking about deaf people, it's much more squirm inducing. I found myself laughing and then feeling badly about laughing. I began to contemplate the deeply rooted sociological training that makes it socially acceptable to laugh at racial humor but not about handicapped people. Then I realized I was thinking too much about a comedy act and moved onto the extras.
The extras include one of the funniest bits not included in the main performance, entitled "David and Vicky," where Peters pokes fun at two audience members named David and Vicky. His audience interaction is always funny and he's mastered that aspect of his act. There are also scenes where he talks about his recent trip to the Middle East performing in USO shows and various other little skits and bits that were trimmed from the feature.
There are also commentaries. Now, I've never listened to a commentary for a standup performance. In fact, the idea strikes me as bizarre. Russell Peters, his brother (and producer) Clayton Peters, and director Jigar Talati chatter on for the duration of the act, sometimes about what's going on onscreen, sometimes just about whatever pops into their heads. It's either boring or hilarious, and really I only recommend listening to it if you really, really need more Russell Peters.
Included with the DVD is an audio CD with the entire performance on it, which is one of the cooler extras I've gotten with a DVD in a long while.
The audio and video transfers are good and there's nothing to complain about on that front.
If you're a fan of Russell Peters then this is a must buy and this is most assuredly not guilty.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Comedy Central
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