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Category:    Home > Reviews > Concert > Comedy > Stand Up > TV > Down & Dirty with Jim Norton – Season One (HBO DVD) + Jo Koy – Don’t Make Him Angry + Russell Brand – In New York City: Extended & Uncensored (Comedy Central DVDs)

Down & Dirty with Jim Norton – Season One (HBO DVD) + Jo Koy – Don’t Make Him Angry + Russell Brand – In New York City: Extended & Uncensored (Comedy Central DVDs)

 

Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: D/B-/C     Concerts: C+/C+/B-

 

 

Though all the DVD companies issue comedy concerts, two are vying to dominate in the marketplace.  HBO, a longtime supporter of the stand-up form are continuing to support it, as well as Comedy Central, both of which used to have the same owner in Warner Bros., but Viacom/Paramount owns Comedy Central now and they co-dominate the market in such concerts.  We will now look at three of their recent releases.

 

Down & Dirty with Jim Norton – Season One is a short-run HBO series with Norton as host and also having one segment per show to do his act.  I was not happy with his last DVD and he was barley better here.  However, he does bring on other talents including Artie Lange, Bill Burr, Patrice O’Neal, Anthony Jeselnik, Whitney Cummings, Jim Florentino and Andrew Dice Clay.  A few of them are funny, but one too many are almost telling the same angry/toilet/burnout jokes that blur the performances.  The big surprise is Dice Clay’s routine, which is easily the best here.  Even those who don’t like him will find it hard to be affected by his send-up of cell phones, Bluetooth and other dumb technologies we have been too easily seduced by.  If you did not ever think he was funny before, see him here.

 

Comedy Central has two solo stand-up discs out and they happen to be two of the best we have seen to date in our nearly six years of the site.  I had never heard of Jo Koy, but Jo Koy – Don’t Make Him Angry is about the often surprisingly personal comedy of a very nice and not-that-angry guy who tells us about his family and life in some often candid terms and is a very gifted talent who could have given a performance twice as long and it would have still been compelling.  Like John Leguizamo, it is some of the boldest private space made comic you will ever see and this could be the beginning of a great comedy career.  We should be so lucky.

 

Just when I thought I had seen the best, I watched Russell Brand – In New York City: Extended & Uncensored and as good as Jo Koy is (they should team up for something), Brand goes on longer and is so at the top of his game that I was stunned at his energy, the diversity of his performance, jokes, comments and recent controversial experiences being outspoken when hosting the 2008 MTV Music Video Awards (VMAs) being explicit about supporting Barack Obama and highly unhappy with Republican leadership.  It is one of the few MTV moments that reflect how great the network once was and is even presented in the supplement section.  The fallout from the appearance is half the act and it is a laugh riot.  Brand is much better here than in the mixed Forgetting Sarah Marshall (reviewed elsewhere on this site) and is closer to a breakout than any other comic I can think of.  He is also unapologetically British and runs with that brilliantly.

 

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on all three releases are about the same, with moments of softness usually saved by consistent color quality for the HD shoots they are.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on all three discs are also nice new recordings, though the Jo Koy disc adds Dolby 5.1, but this does not offer any kind of major difference. 

 

Extras are only on the Comedy Central discs.  The Jo Koy disc adds a special promoting the show, an exclusive Rap/Hip Hop performance by the Black Eyed Peas’ Apl.De.Ap with dancers Donnie “Crumbs” Counts & Moy Rivas, clips with those dancers, an extended interview with Jo and a clip of him with his son who is his dad’s inspiration.  The Brand disc adds that 2008 VMA Monologue, a featurette of Brand going around New York and three outtakes from the concert of a drunk woman who keeps interrupting the performance and the amusing way Brand handles it.

 

 

-   Nicholas Sheffo


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