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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Stand-Up > Interviews > Cable TV > Alan King - Inside The Comedy Mind (Gold & Platinum)

Alan King – Inside The Comedy Mind (Gold & Platinum)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: D     Episodes: B



Alan King is one of the great stand-up comedians and could also be considered a solid supporting actor.  Back in 1991, for cable TV, King used his clout to host a series of interviews that turn out to be a remarkable record of the entire cross-section of comic talent in the entire entertainment industry.  Alan King – Inside The Comedy Mind is a remarkable early cable series before such shows were considered respectable.  The Ace Awards are retired, but these shows deserved to be revived and BFS has issued two volumes that consist of eight hours (read 16 episodes) per DVD.  Dubbed Gold and Platinum, the amazing list of interviewees are as follows:




George Burns

George Carlin

Mel Brooks

Buddy Hackett

Jerry Seinfeld (just before his hit TV series launched!)

Rob Reiner

Carl Reiner

Neil Simon

Dennis Miller

Garry Marshall




Robin Williams

Bob Hope

Billy Crystal

Whoopi Goldberg

Carol Burnett

Jack Lemmon

Howie Mandel

Charles Grodin

Steven Wright

Norman Lear



And that does not include every episode, as the credits flying images seem to suggest.  The great plus in having King do the show is that he is a very knowledgeable veteran and survivor who makes the most of the time with each name.  That he got so many people in, across and even behind the scenes in the industry is amazing and rarely today will you see a series of this integrity, depth, substance or diversity.  The only series that come to mind of equal are The Charlie Rose Show (not always focused on entertainment, obviously, but really good when it is) and Inside The Actors Studio.


The shows with the eldest legends tend to yield surprises for those who have not heard enough about them and in that they rare did or needed to do interviews.  Those who were about to be bigger stars are a bit more open by default, while some of those who might not immediately come to mind (Rob Reiner, Garry Marshall, Neil Simon, Charles Grodin) very much belong here, because this is a show trying to cover as wide a space of time and work in comedy as it can and this one does it very well.


The full frame 1.33 X 1 image is as expected for its age, shot on old professional analog NTSC videotape, from masters that are clean and undamaged.  Even something this new, especially in television, can be susceptible to damage from neglect alone.  Add that tape does not hold up as well as film and that cable’s early isolated history has produced many a concert issued on home video that did not look or sound as good as it should have.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound here is monophonic, but clear for what it is.  Regular Dolby Pro Logic Surround was only starting to take off on non-film program in cable at the time, so this is typical for the most part.  The only extra is text about King and the performers on their given DVDs, but these discs are nicely loaded with these shows and if there are more, let’s hope BFS gets them issued ASAP.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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