US Comedy TV on DVD
It came to these shores amid a storm of publicity at the start of the year, and against almost every odd, Glee (Fox ●●●●) comes up trumps. Memorable moments from season one include Kurt using a Beyoncé number to help him get ahead in American football, the William McKinley crew duetting with a deaf choir for ‘Imagine’ and the endless slushing of hapless victims in the school hallway. If all that singing and dancing and teenage impregnating is too uplifting for you, Best Medicine have released a trio of DVDs that will test your limits of tolerance to varying degrees.
The concept of the ‘comedy roast’ is a proud US tradition which dates back to the 1920s but has now morphed into a public display of strapping a celeb into the stocks and chucking metaphorical faeces-filled pies at them. In Comedy Central: Roast of Denis Leary (●●●), the former stand-up turned character actor (a character that is pretty much usually ‘Denis Leary’) is rotated on a spit c/o host Jeff Garlin and Leary’s pals from The Job and Rescue Me while showbiz chums such as Kiefer Sutherland and Liz Hurley catch some unfriendly fire by being sat far too close to him.
There’s nothing in there as brutal as the demolition job on a clearly soused Courtney Love during the Pamela Anderson roast (‘how is it possible that she looks worse than Kurt Cobain?’) but such hilarious poison would have been a blessing in Chappelle’s Show (●●). In the States, Dave Chappelle is viewed as something of a comedy god but there’s no evidence whatsoever to justify that in this apparently ‘uncensored’ DVD. While he does attempt to tackle some contentious issues (mainly racism) in his horribly lame sketches, there’s always a ‘titty’ gag round the corner to keep the numbskulls within his fanbase amused.
At least there’s a pleasant surprise in store with cop comedy Reno 911 (●●●) which, looking at the DVD cover, threatens to be a pale imitation of Police Squad and Naked Gun but is actually an often very funny spoof of the police-on-the-job documentary sub-genre. From the opening salvo of a cop entering his own surprise party and gunning a colleague down, Reno 911 is an endless riot of inappropriate fun.