"An hour of boredom!"
A sweaty bald comedian, a crowd of miserable viewers.
Dave Attell’s latest HBO comedy special, shot in Washington DC.
I’ve seen Dave Attell a ton of times in Manhattan. Become a regular attendant at comedy clubs (like the incredible Comedy Cellar) and you’ll got used to seeing comedians all the time, especially around MacDougal. I’ve drank beers with some of them, been ripped on by dozens, and seen a ton of big name comics show up out of nowhere. A lot of the biggest names regularly show up at the small NYC clubs to polish their act… you really would be surprised how often it happens. I’d hesitante to call Dave Attell among their number, but that’s the way the crowd full of tourists and college kids would always react. Sure, Insomniac was great, but is he really a celeb?
Every time I’ve seen Attell live it went the same way. First, the initial excitement of the crowd- you could almost hear the whispers. "Dave Attell? You mean the guy from TV? OMG!"
Then he got on and did a few lame jokes. They got lots of laughter, mostly because of the fact that the audience knew he was funny, right? He was on the TV!
And then, the inevitable bombing and crashing end. Where his lame jokes ended with nothing but silence from the crowd, except for whatever few idiots felt a sense of obligation to keep laughing.
Dave tries to see if his skills with The Force can make people laugh.
To be fair, I did see him kill… once. And Insomniac was a funny show. Attell is good at improv and ripping on drunk idiots without them even realizing it. But he’s taken his persona of the drunk party guy and turned it into the mess his comedy is today.
Just like a funny joke heard at a bar, so is his humor… shallow and ultimately forgettable.
If you’ve never heard a dirty joke, it’s probably hysterical. If you’re a college freshman who has just discovered the joy of drinking it’s probably the funniest thing you’ve ever heard.
But when simply a line like "I used to drink a lot of Jagermeister." gets a loud round of whoops and applause, you know the kind of audience he’s going for. Like when just the word "taint" gets laugher… or when people giggle at his keen observation that Florida looks like a penis. You’ll start to weep for the future.
It’s not dirty humor (which I love), it’s dirty for the sake of being dirty. There’s no substance to it. He just throws out random lame drug and sex jokes and see what sticks…. it doesn’t make for a deep or even fun stand-up experience. I’ve known it for years as an attendee at his shows in Manhattan, but always wished he would do a little more. He doesn’t, and instead you’ll spend most of the time staring at the screen waiting for it to be funny. There are a couple of good lines here and there (the pedophile/addiction joke is a classic), but they’re soon buried by his followups.
Course, the audience here eats it up. It’s not hard to make most college kids laugh- if he just spent the entire set screaming "Fuck! Shrooms! Republicans!" he’d get just as much laughter.
But hey, comedy is subjective. You might like Attell’s humor, and if you do, most of his stuff here is brand new. There’s just many more comedians out there that are worth your time.
I imagine he gets that reaction a lot.
(Funny side note! I personally know multiple girls who have been approached by Attell in the city, including one who stupidly gave him her number and was repeatedly called at all hours by him for months, but that’s a story for a different day. Ironically, this doesn’t affect my score. I’d do the same thing if I could have a chance at girls half my age when I’m as old as him. But of course I won’t.)
This disc’s got more features than HBO’s comedy dvds usually have, but it only ends up being about 20 minutes of material.
First up are 10 deleted scenes. If you’ve suffered through the main set, the failed jokes are probably the last thing you want to see.
There’s a few featurettes featuring Attell at various tours- one at some music festival where he performed, one from his tour in the Middle East, and another one from his Booze Cruise. They’re all less than 5 minutes long, but very interesting to see him behind the scenes at his shows. Ironically, this is the best part of the whole dvd. Attell is best when he’s doing his "man on the street" stuff, playing off other people and cleverly edited together. I would love to see another season of Insomniac. But as a stand-up comedian, he just doesn’t do it for me.
The best part of the show. Also, ironically, the end.