STUDIO: Paramount Home Video
MSRP: $19.99
RATED: Unrated
RUNNING TIME: 180 minutes

The Pitch

How can we get people to watch prank calls executed on television? With the magical power of puppets!

The Humans

Adam Carolla, Dennis Leary, Jimmy Kimmel, Tracy Morgan, Sarah Silverman, Wanda Sykes Tenacious D and other assorted comedians.

There’s plenty enough for the both of you, boys. Just take one and wrap it around.

The Nutshell

The art of the prank call probably began a few minutes after Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone and has been kept alive by adolescent pranksters ever since. A few lucky people have been able to make a living with their crank calls, as evidenced by the Jerky Boys era in the ‘90s. Crank Yankers continues this proud legacy by assembling a variety of comedians, setting their sights on innocent victims and recording the ensuing conversation.

A great majority of the calls on the show are directed towards businesses and phone lines, jobs where the victim is expected to stay on the phone for a long amount of time. The humor comes from both the jokes of the comedians as well as the reactions of the normal folk on the other end of the line.

Tenacious D and the dicks of destiny.

The Lowdown

It’s always a mystery who gets to decide what the “best of” anything entails. Did they consult the show’s producers? Did the comedians get a say? Was there a focus group? Did some unlucky intern have to watch every single episode of Crank Yankers and pick the ones that elicited a chuckle or two? We’ll probably never know for sure, but there were probably a lot of great calls left off this release. The rabid Crank Yankers fanbase is probably enraged over this release.

The calls in this collection are uneven. Whether or not any given sketch works depends heavily upon how game the victim is and the improvisational abilities of the comedian. Guys like Jimmy Kimmel, Tracy Morgan and Patton Oswalt are quick on their feet and roll well with the punches. Guys who depend more on scripted comedy like Dennis Leary don’t have as successful a go at it. It feels like their skits were included in the collection merely because they’re famous, not because they’re very good at crank calling people.

Another excited fan calls into the CHUD Show Podcast.

The puppeteers deliver their fair share of the comedy as well. The show is filled with numerous sight gags and props that keep things interesting. It’s hard to make two puppets talking on a phone very visually stimulating, but the puppeteers come through in the clutch and often deliver visual gags that are funnier than the crank calls taking place.

Crank Yankers is definitely a show that works best in small doses. One skit with Special Ed screaming the same phrase over and over can be moderately entertaining, especially when the show only comes on once a week. When you’re subjected to several Special Ed skits in the same 180 minute period, you become about as retarded as he is. It’s a nice collection of skits if you’re a big fan of the show, but you’ll probably spend a lot of time just picking and choosing a few of them before burning out and watching something else.

The bitter nature of die hard Azrael fans.

If nothing else, Crank Yankers exists as actual, verifiable proof that Wanda Sykes has been capable of being funny at one point in her life. This goes against every scientific rule on the books and will blow many minds. It sure did blow mine.

The Package

The disc certainly lives up to its claim of being uncensored, as copious amounts of puppet nudity are put on display. There probably weren’t this many nude scenes in Let My Puppets Come. Any profanity uttered during the show is also uncensored, so you can get the full effect of crudeness during sketches about taking a shit in the back of a car. The only things that are censored are the phone numbers and names of certain businesses that didn’t give permission for those things to be displayed. Paramount’s hands are certainly tied in that type of situation and it’s not a big deal at all.

Those hoping for more of a visual response from Hawking when he watched "Two Girls, One Cup" were quite dissapointed.

If you don’t feel like sweating through all 180 minutes of prank calls, they’re also organized by character and comedian. It’s a helpful feature that allows you to focus skip over the characters you find obnoxious and tiresome. Who knows how many times you’ll be popping this one into your DVD player, but you can rest well knowing that you’ll be able to skip right to that awesome skit about penis pumps at light speed.

6.5 out of 10