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The Best of Comedy Central Presents (1999-2005)

Paramount Home Entertainment
DVD Released: 2/5/2008

All Ratings out of
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Extras: None

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 1/31/2008

Was anyone else here a fan of mix tapes? Back in the 80s and early 90s, I used to make mix tapes all of the time. Recently, the mix tape has taken on a nostalgic quality where it's usually referred to as something that one gave to a person towards which they had romantic feelings. However, in my case, I was really into new music and wanted everyone to share in this. Comedy Central and Paramount Home Entertainment have brought us the home video equivalent of a mix tape with The Best of Comedy Central Presents, which features performances by eight comedians. You can now clear these off of your DVR and have them all in one convenient package.

Premiering in 1998, Comedy Central Presents is half-hour program shown in Comedy Central which features a stand-up comedian performing before an audience. Over the years, the show has featured some of comedy's most famous faces and many rising stars. The Best of Comedy Central Presents DVD packages some memorable performances from the show. The selections are as follows:

Lewis Black (21 minutes) made a name for himself through his rants on The Daily Show. He continues that style of angry humor in this special. Black's approach is a gimmick that viewers will either love or hate, and I usually find him funny. However, there are few gems here and his discussion of Christmas vs. Hanukah feels like something that I've heard many times.

Best Bit: The Starbucks at the end of the universe.

Dane Cook (22 minutes) receives a lot of hate from critics and everyday knuckle-heads on-line and I'm not sure why. The man is funny and has a great style of delivery. This special marks the beginning of Cook's rise in popularity and it has some great moments. It shows a performer who isn't afraid to be crazy (he pours water all over himself while acting like an alien), but also tells jokes that most can relate to. This is a classic.

Best Bit: Working at Burger King.

Jeff Dunham (21 minutes) certainly isn't the first ventriloquist to tell jokes, but he's definitely one of the all-time greats. Not only is Dunham a gifted ventriloquist, but he's also a very funny person and one usually can't help but laugh at his act. Also, it doesn't hurt that he uses such unique puppets. The super hero puppet used here falls flat, but crowd favorites Peanut and Walter save the day.

Best Bit: Peanut and Jose the Jalapeno on a stick.

Jim Gaffigan (22 minutes) is a comedian that most people probably recognize from his work in TV and in those Sierra Mist ads, but they may not be familiar with his stand-up. Gaffigan mixes self-deprecating humor (which is usually about his pale appearance) with observational humor concerning how lazy and stupid most people are. Gaffigan is that rare comedian of today who is hilarious without getting raunchy.

Best Bit: Mexican food in Indiana.

Mitch Hedberg (22 minutes), who died in 2005, may be one of the more obscure names in this collection, but heís definitely worth checking out. Hedbergís act is an odd mixture of stoner humor and jokes which would feel right at home coming from Stephen Wright. He makes very odd observations about the world around us which are funny due to the element of truth which they possess. I must admit that I wasnít crazy about Hedbergís delivery, but I did find myself chuckling about the jokes after watching the show.

Best Bit: Dufrane party of four.

Demetri Martin (21 minutes) began his career as a writer on Late Night with Conan OíBrien while also doing stand-up. He has a very laid back style, and the confidence of his humor is oddly juxtaposed with his innocent demeanor. He blends observational humor with some odd head-scratchers, but for the most part, itís all going to make you smile. The latter half of the show had Martin performing with his guitar, although he never actually does any songs.

Best Bit: The Large Pad.

Carlos Mencia (21 minutes) gained national attention with his Mind of Mencia show on Comedy Central. Iíve never seen that program and after seeing this performance, I wonít be going out of my way to find it. Mencia spends the entire time talking about how we need to learn to laugh at ourselves and at other people and how America has become to sensitive. This is a great point, but I came here for comedy, not for a motivational speaker. Despite his enthusiasm, Mencia apparently left the jokes at home. He insults everyone, but itís never funny.

Best Bit: NONE.

Brian Regan (22 minutes) has been in stand-up for years, and once hosted Comedy Centralís Short Attention Span Theater (which I still miss to this day). His approach is a very old-school ďHave you ever noticed...?Ē style of humor and some of it is funny. He spends most of the show talking about food and dieting and it gets a bit odd at times. Still, Regan is a likeable guy and thereís some laughs here.

Best Bit: The Eye Exam.

This collection is a mixed-bag, but of the 8, there are 5 that I would find myself wanting to watch now and again, so thatís not a bad average. But, hereís a question: Why didnít Comedy Central edit the shows together instead of leaving in the commercial-break bumpers? Thatís just annoying.

The Best of Comedy Central Presents guffaws onto DVD courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment. The specials are presented in their original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. These shows look good, but not great. Basically, we have a group of shorts which were shot on TV-quality video. The images are clear, but there is some light-flaring and video noise at time. Still, any critiquing is a moot point, as these look just as they did when they were aired on digital broadcast quality TV. The DVD has a Dolby stereo audio track. The bottom line here is that we can always hear the comedians and they are never drowned out by the applause or laughter of the crowd.

There are no extras on this DVD.

Review Copyright 2008 by Mike Long