Judge Clark Douglas would like to try stand-up comedy, but finds the "standing" part very difficult to master.
"Men watching porn is like women watching the Food Network. We're just watching things we're never actually going to do."
As someone who watches The Daily Show and The Colbert Report on a semi-regular basis, I see a lot of promos for other Comedy Central shows. Over the course of the past year or two, the network has been promoting stand-up comic Whitney Cummings pretty heavily—she's been a part of several roasts, appeared on Denis Leary's Douchebags and Donuts. and was given an hour-long solo special entitled Whitney Cummings: Money Shot. So, upon seeing that the last item was being made available on DVD, I decided see what Ms. Cummings was all about.
Whitney Cummings: Money Shot delivers a modestly enjoyable 48 minutes of stand-up and a handful of terrific tangents, though there are a few areas in which Cummings has room to grow. For the vast majority of its duration, the special focuses on the complexities and challenges of the relationships between men and women. Is that a fancy way of saying that she tells a lot of sex jokes? Sort of. Cummings does have a more-than-generous supply of sex-related material, from riffing on her dislike for morning sex to the generally gross appearance of testicles to the pros and cons of porn to her frustrations with role-playing.
Honestly, a lot of this feels pretty old hat and Cummings doesn't manage to take it anywhere new, but her saving grace is her double-edged approach to the material. Just as she's midway through a rant about the irritating behavior of knuckle-dragging males, she'll throw in an equally tough jab at the opposite sex (and vice-versa). So, while many of the actual jokes sound as if they could come from any "you know why men/women irritate me?" routine, the unpredictable nature in which she deviously flits from one to the other makes it better than it ought to be.
Still, the best moments are when Cummings taps into something a little richer. There's a terrific sequence about the male obsession with sports, including an element of sports ritual so ripe for stand-up comedy that you wonder why someone didn't get to it before now (I particularly love the moment in which she compares a man watching football while wearing the jersey of his favorite player to a woman watching an episode of Grey's Anatomy in scrubs).
The majority of what's offered works on some level, but there are a few moments which fall flat. A bit on the Twilight movies followed by speculation on what it might be like to date a vampire isn't nearly as amusing as it ought to be. In addition, Cummings doesn't ever manage to generate anything particularly funny when she decides to start interacting with the crowd, mainly relying on wheezy insults. She also has a tendency to shout a bit too often; perhaps overselling lines that might have been funnier if delivered a little more casually. Still, the moments that flat-out fail are fortunately few and far between.
The DVD transfer is decent enough, offering solid detail and shading. The stage set-up is simple and has an appealing purple/blue palette. Audio is also fine, with a generous mix of crowd noise that never overwhelms Cummings' delivery. There are no extras of any sort included on the disc.
Whitney Cummings: Money Shot is a hit-and-miss special, but I enjoyed the majority of it to some degree. It successfully demonstrates that Cummings does have a good deal of potential and could become a memorable comic voice if she can do a little fine-tuning. I look forward to seeing what she does next.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Image Entertainment
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