Comedy Central Collection
For anyone who thinks that American stand-up comedy means Bill Hicks, Chris Rock and Joan Rivers, those wonderful people at Comedy Central are setting out to put you straight. A new set of DVDs and CDs should thrust you out of that slumber when the excellent works of three relatively unknown and diverse talents are unleashed over here.
Dane Cook is a controversial figure. Not just for having ‘invented’ a weird hand gesture dubbed the SUperFInger or for the accusations that he has become big in the States by winning the style vs content war (one article in Rolling Stone was entitled ‘How can any comedian get as famous as Dane Cook with no jokes?). Worse than those are the accusations of plagiarism which have followed him over the years. The internet debate on this is wide and ranging but before you decide on that, have a look and listen to Harmful If Swallowed and Retaliation and make up your own mind on the guy’s raw and energetic talent.
Todd Barry may have a face which is familiar to Edinburgh Fringe-goers after his appearance at the Assembly Rooms in 2004. Actually, there’s more chance of you remembering his voice, a slightly pained, whiny, querying tone accompanied occasionally by a slightly menacing glare. Thankfully, for anyone who has regular contact with him, Falling off the Bone includes a short documentary which tracks Barry around New York (accompanied by fellow idiosyncratic Big Appler Eugene Mirman) and proves that his voice is actually agreeably unpained, anti-whine and relatively non-querying. And his stare is perfectly fine. In his stand-up, Barry offers skewed and subtle looks at the ridiculousness and awkwardness of his own life whether he’s trying to convince women that he’s a more hygienic sexual partner than Brad Pitt or the consistent failures of the postal service.
Mitch Hedberg will go down in the annals of great American comics for following the Lenny Bruce/Bill Hicks/Andy Kaufman trail to immortality and dying far too young, in his case from an overdose in 2005. His demise came so close to April Fool’s Day that some fans were convinced (and probably still are) that he remains among us. Mitch All Together is a scintillating example of his singular talent, a propensity for obtuse and surreal one and two-liners covering topics such as the madness of hotels not having a 13th floor, the odd concept of bed and breakfast, and the less obvious downsides to being shot with a bow and arrow.
All CDs/DVDs are out on Mon 7 Apr.