Three DVDs with three different comics. Are they funny?
Jeffrey Ross is an insult comic from New Jersey. No Offense is his first standup show in his hometown because he was never sure if he was good enough. The thought process is most comedians were the unpopular and fat kids who used comedy as a defense mechanism. Listening to Ross’ act, I am tempted to believe he was not one of the unpopular kids but instead was one of the bullies. His act partially involves picking various people out of the audience and throwing around insults. The start of the show involved calling a kid from the front row onto the stage and then making fun of his for wearing flip flops on a Saturday night out. He then sent the guy back to his seat, sans flip flops.
The highlight of the show was the last stretch where he brought a couple of people up to play a piano while he performed poetry. The first was a church pianist and Ross sang about putting his balls in her mouth. The second was a big guy named Larry who laughed like Seth Rogan. He laughed nonstop through his entire portion of the act, which included a bunch of “poems” pieces, including love poems to the pizza guy, Ross’ cat, and his parents. The entire section with Larry and Ross was comedy gold.
Jimmy Dore’s first joke was “I like to get high and watch Christian television,” and you know exactly what you are getting. Dore is mainly a political comic who makes fun of just about everyone. He mentions that he started making fun of presidents with Ronald Reagan, which he said was hard but then things got easier with George Bush and then he felt it couldn’t get any easier when Bill Clinton was elected president.
Jimmy Dore is a very polarizing comedian. He uses his standup to express his political opinions and while he is very smart and really has a tendency to make you think about these issues, he rarely comes across as very funny. It is strange to listen to the audience for Jeffrey Ross who was loud and then listen to Dore’s audience who doesn’t make that much noise. I think one of the problem with his act is he is not physically that funny. He does some funny impersonations but when he delivers his straight jokes they just fall a bit flat. What makes him great is his writing, though.
Lewis Black is the most popular of the three comics in this review. He is a comedian best known for his wild rants over politics, religion or popular culture. This DVD presents the entire first season of the Comedy Central show Root of all Evil. The format is simple. Two comedians debate which of two topics are the root of all evil. Black is the judge and determines after the arguments are presented which is in fact guilty. The audience also gets to vote and most of the time, the two don’t agree.
The shows start with Lewis Black doing a small standup. I don’t find Black that funny, so that is a downfall to my enjoyment of the show. However, the second portion is the opening arguments by the comedians arguing the cases and in almost every case they expose Black for being the one trick pony he is. Comedians such as Paul Tompkins, Greg Giraldo
The episodes work best when the comedians take over. The first episode involved Oprah Winfrey versus The Catholic Church. Tompkins argument turned a group of inner city kids against Oprah because of comments she made about the greed of these same inner city kids. Greg Giraldo held his own as he emphasized the boy fucking. Throughout the episodes Giraldo and Patton Oswald are brilliant all season long.
The highlight of the two-disc set includes Catholic Church vs. Oprah, Beer vs. Weed, and Paris Hilton vs. Dick Cheney. Out of the three DVDs, Lewis Black’s is the best pick. It isn’t so much due to the humor of Black himself but the other comedians involved in the set. These are some top notch comics and their debates are often very funny and inspired. My second choice would be Jeffrey Ross with Jimmy Dore coming up the ass.
Jeffrey Ross: No Offense Live From New Jersey includes a Documentary Feature Intro (13:00). You have the choice to watch this intro before the DVD feature. It pretty much is a short feature of him returning home for this performance. This includes catching up with his family and visiting his old high school where he talked to the student class.
Root of all Evil includes a number of extras. Post Show Interviews talks to Lewis Black and the comedians after each of the episodes on the decision. This is a spoof of the People’s Court interviews. These are pretty funny, and a nice little addition to the DVD. Your Day in Court is a fake old school documentary where Lewis Black explains what to do if you have to appear in court. Meet Judge Black is a short fluff piece where Black explains he is not a real judge. Meet the Lawyers is a feature where Black talks about how great it is for him to get to sit back and listen to these comedians. Politibits lets Black give his opinions on the influence of politicians creating the truth.
Root of all Evil also includes Comedy Central DVD Previews as well as a section called Comedy Central Quickies. Quickies is clips from various shows including Reno 911, South Park, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.