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STUDIO: Comedy Central
RUNNING TIME: 176 minutes
• Comedy Central Shorts
• DVD Previews
We’re making a stand-up comedy compilation DVD, and out of the eight performers, Carlos Mencia is the 6th funniest guy. This means that nearly 40% of this DVD is at least as bad as Carlos Mencia. We’re fucked, right?
Demetri’s thoughts on wormholes and their effects on unstable Magnetars
went well over the collective head of the audience.
Dane Cook, Brian Regan, Lewis Black, Demetri Martin, Carlos Mencia, Mitch Hedberg, Jim Gaffigan, Jeff Dunham
Jeff’s weekly attempt to hock the Bea Arthur RealDoll.
The Best of Comedy Central Presents: Uncensored, a compilation of various Comedy Central half-hour specials from the last ten years or so, features Dane Cook, Brian Regan, Lewis Black, Demetri Martin, Carlos Mencia, Mitch Hedberg, Jim Gaffigan, and Jeff Dunham.
The featured comics tackle topics both coarse and urbane, including lollipops, corporate America, Aliens, Indiana, and the finer points on how white people walk differently than black people.
Unlike many other art forms, most stand up comedy has a short shelf life. There are exceptions, of course; any Carlin, Allen, Kinison, or Hicks fan could easily argue the point that good stand up comedy should be timeless. All too often, though, stand up bits are so entrenched in a specific time and place that even if it is a work of comic genius, it can’t help but diminish over time. And that’s one of the problems with much of Comedy Central Presents: Uncensored. So much of it feels like a product of the late ’90’s, and since none of it (with the exception of Mitch Hedberg’s stuff) is really transcendent in the way that Carlin’s or Hicks’ material is, it’s often painful to watch. To wit: Brian Regan does a bit on “Peanut Butter and Jelly in the same jar! How lazy do you have to be, nowadays?”. I haven’t seen this product in stores since at least ’99. There are other examples, such as “Golly, Starbucks is everywhere these days!”, but I’m not going to list them all. These stale references are pervasive, and they’re just not funny anymore.
Comedy Central Presents: Uncensored is a bare bones regurgitation of eight stand up specials from a fairly wide range of comic talents, and it’s certainly not all bad and dated. The best of the eight is easily the late, great Mitch Hedberg’s performance. If you’ve paid any attention to comedy in the last decade, you’ve probably heard of him, as his material is smart, funny, and accessible. Demetri Martin does a decent job, too, and although he’s a little too quirky and precious for me, I can see why he’s popular. Brian Regan rounds out the top three with his fun, family-friendly (if horribly dated, which isn’t his fault, as I’m sure the special was recorded in the ’90s) material. Sure, he’s not as edgy or smart as many of his contemporaries, but he’s got a nice presence that works well on stage.
one was that comics were actually encouraged to use the ‘N’ word.
Dane Cook is a joke thief. Moving past that tragedy, Cook’s performance here isn’t that bad, although he looks like he’s coked out of his mind. After trimming out the irritating jumping and yelling, Cook’s early material is pretty funny, and although he’s a comedy wasteland today, I’ll admit that I enjoyed Harmful if Swallowed. His performance here is an abbreviated and censored version of Swallowed, so it’s probably best to listen to that CD in lieu of this performance, as there’s no good reason to do otherwise. If anything, Cook’s performance makes me miss Hedberg even more, as Hedberg wasn’t afraid to let his audience figure out the joke on their own, while Cook pummels his humor home with a sledgehammer.
Moving on to Lewis Black: His schtick here is tiresome and repetitive. He gets points for being a smart, articulate person, but he forgets that exasperated indignation isn’t enough to sustain a joke.
And then there are the rest.
Carlos Mencia leads the bottom three, which is a pretty damning statement for the other two. There’s certainly nothing wrong with ethnic humor, especially when it points out the folly and absurdity of racism, but Mencia’s tirades about political correctness, arab terrorists, and “Orientals” just aren’t funny. It’s button pushing for the sake of button pushing, and while it’s not offensive, his lowest common denominator approach to comedy doesn’t add anything to the disc.
The bottom two are abysmal. Jim Gaffigan’s routine is a flaccid observational jab at life’s peccadillos, and while he’s pretty much harmless, he’s undoubtably the most boring comic in the group. At least Mencia kept me awake. And then there’s ventriloquist Jeff Dunham, who cycles through a group of the least amusing puppet characters since Muppet Treasure Island. I’d rather watch circus clowns.
Darryl Revok wasn’t amused by the performance.
What’s interesting about this supposedly uncensored product is the lack of any discernible mature content. There are a few swears here and there, but viewers who purchase Uncensored looking for edginess will be very disappointed. These presentations are identical to the ones that appeared on Comedy Central over the last few years, although a few fucks and shits go un-bleeped.
Overall, Uncensored isn’t a very exciting or worthwhile endeavor for fans of stand up comedy, as the performances are mostly dated and de-fanged, but if you’re interested in seeing some decent performances from Hedberg or Martin, keep your expectations low, and you might enjoy yourself.
It’s a sparsely populated release, although there are a few cool snippets from The Sarah Silverman Program and The Colbert Report in the extra features section.
audio is an acceptable Dolby 2/0, and the video is standard TV quality, which is fine.
The mic attempted to attack Dane’s face in this rare outtake.