"GABRIEL IGLESIAS:
I’M NOT FAT... I’M FLUFFY"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: **1/2 (out of 5 stars)

    STARRING
    Gabriel Iglesias as HIMSELF

    Not Rated
    Studio: Comedy Central

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I may not be Latino, but I sure am fluffy, and so I’m already coming to Gabriel Iglesias’ stand up Comedy Central DVD “I’m Not Fat... I’m Fluffy” with a soft spot. (Arguably, I have plenty of soft spots on my body, which is a side-effect of being so fluffy.)

Iglesias takes the stage in El Paso, Texas, for this Comedy Central special and covers have stock topics of weight, Mexican heritage and some new elements about being a father of a ten-year-old fluffy kid. Even with his boyish face, Iglesias comes across as remarkably fatherly and friendly when he talks about his non-traditional family.

Now that he has achieved a certain level of fame (which he describes as being recognized at Disneyland), Iglesias can wax poetic on stage (in funny voices, of course) about coming up in the world and what it’s like to now hang with his idols (like Paul Rodriguez).

Too many comedians nowadays rely too much on hard core topics, particularly sex and profanity. And I’m not a prude by any stretch of the imagination, but it does get tiresome when a comedian has to rely on the F-bomb just to make a joke funny. I wouldn’t say that Iglesias is squeaky clean, but you could bring a kid to the show and not have to explain too much. Oh, he has plenty of naughtiness in his routine, but it’s all told in such a friendly, jovial manner, you’ll forget that he’s talking about sex.

Igesias stays away from politics (for the most part, although he does have a rather funny bit about Barack Obama that actually doesn’t get political), and his comedy is very approachable. Sure, you’re going to relate to it a lot more if you’re of Mexican descent (or any Latino culture, I imagine) but for a fluffy white guy like myself, I found it very entertaining.

The DVD comes with an eight-minute deleted scene, along with two five-minute stand-up spotlights for Iglesias’ friends Martin Moreno and Noe Gonzalez. There’s also an endearing onstage Q&A with fans from the El Paso show.



"GREG GIRALDO: MIDLIFE VICES"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: **** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5 stars)

    STARRING
    Greg Giraldo as HIMSELF

    Not Rated
    Studio: Comedy Central

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I run into comedians from time to time because I do a bit of morning radio. Not long ago, I was at a station to do a movie review bit, and Greg Giraldo showed up to promote his local Funny Bone appearance and talk about his new DVD “Midlife Vices.” He was kind enough to sit in on my movie review segment to help take some jabs at the current releases.

Unrehearsed, the guy can be pretty funny (although I had to insist to him that I never saw “Fisting Miss Daisy”). On the DVD in a prepared show, he’s hilarious. Probably best known by the public as the guy who leads the Comedy Central Roasts, Giraldo shines even when he’s not ripping into other famous people.

Like any comedian, Giraldo draws a lot of his acerbic humor from his personal life. Now that he’s divorced and feeling the pangs of child support and ex-wife, his comedy has stayed bitter but given him plenty of material. It’s a blend of observational comedy and impatience at the world. He comes off best when he’s struggling to understand how people deal with the world (like a look at the texting phenomenon and how the economy is doing), but he also lands some big laughs with his self-deprecating material (like his humbling experience with an escort... and no, it’s not what you think).

The DVD comes with a neat assortment of special features. While Giraldo has become known for the Comedy Central Roasts (which have been relatively recent), he’s been in the industry for years. Submitted for your entertainment is a vintage “Comedy Central Presents” from when he was happily married as well as his pilot for the show “Adult Content,” which is a less mythbusting version of “Penn & Teller: Bullshit.”

Like many of the parts of the NC-17 film from a few years back, “The Aristocrats,” it’s the comedians that aren’t as recognizable that are the funniest. Greg Giraldo, although he’s been around for years, is still working hard to be funny, and he’s succeeding.



"NICK SWARDSON:
SERIOUSLY, WHO FARTED?"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: **** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)

    STARRING
    Nick Swardson as HIMSELF

    Not Rated
    Studio: Comedy Central

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The title alone for Nick Swardson’s Comedy Central stand-up special, “Seriously, Who Farted?,” immediately tells you that he’s going to rely on juvenile humor. And that’s okay. Because if you don’t know who Nick Swardson is (most famous, of course, for his man-child biddy-lover in “Grandma’s Boy” and a roller-skating male prostitute in “Reno 911!”), the title says it all.

I’m okay with juvenile. In fact, I laughed my butt off during this special.

Swardson may be in his 30s, but he still acts like he’s a college-aged kid who isn’t going to college. He drinks too much, smokes too much weed and talks about all of it on stage. I may not approve of his behavior, but that doesn’t mean the guy can’t make it sound funny as hell.

Swardson doesn’t take a break from the juvenile humor. He recounts tales inspired by his role on “Reno 911!” as well as what it was like to make out with Mrs. Partridge herself on the set of “Grandma’s Boy.” He’s not an A-lister, but he’s been involved enough in some well-known and cult films that he brings some hilarious stories from the set (in particular one involving Peter Dante and his use of real marijuana on the set of “Grandma’s Boy”).

Whether Swardson is talking about his “undecided” sexuality or his trip to the Asian massage parlor for a happy ending, Swardson is funny... if you like his brand of humor.

The DVD comes with some more creative bonus content than what you normally get on a Comedy Central stand-up disc. The lame opening act of “Beardo & Dirt Nasty” is highlighted, but that’s balanced by “A Very Terry Christmas” which is a wildly inappropriate Christmas message from his “Reno 911!” persona. Other funny video bits is the trailer spoof “28 Drinks Later” and the mockumentary “Nick Swardson: Timeless Comedian” which recounts his Vaudeville days.



"KATT WILLIAMS: PIMPADELIC"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5 stars)

    STARRING
    Katt Williams as HIMSELF

    Not Rated
    Studio: Code Black Entertainment

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One of the first movies I ever professionally reviewed was Katt Williams’ motion picture debut in “Friday After Next.” I enjoyed the movie, but I thought this hyperactive little pimp named Money Mike stole the show. The guy left an impression on me with that film, and I have found him funny in almost anything he has done.

And yes, that even includes awful movies like “First Sunday” and “Norbit.”

Now, Katt Williams is a huge star. He’s a comedy pimp, and he builds his act surrounded by bling and fur coats. His latest stand-up special “Katt Williams: Pimpadelic” gives us a pretty solid DVD. While his stand-up bits are very funny – and surprising accessible to a mainstream audience – the most interesting elements of the show are the interstitial segments which include interviews with him about his comedy process.

The concert is recorded at a sell-out crowd in Washington D.C., where Williams shows his local knowledge of the urban culture there, talking about how he visited the Iverson Mall. He definitely shines in his stage persona and covers some creative material that doesn’t simply rely on cheap gags.

In the behind-the-scenes footage, Williams talks about how he strives to make his comedy accessible to the mainstream because otherwise he’d simply be targeting only fourteen percent of the population. It’s this kind of attitude that makes him funny outside of a comfort zone and has helped earn him comparisons to Richard Pryor.

In addition to the archival interview footage of Williams, the DVD comes with five bonus concert clips from his own personal vault.

The material in Williams’ comedy is exactly what you’d expect. There’s a lot of talk about pimping and pot. But even for a stuffy, middle-class white guy, this material made me laugh. I’d like to see this guy get more spotlight work in movies.

And that leads me to this point, with which I will close. I told a friend of mine that I was watching a Katt Williams DVD, and he responded by telling me that he was watching “The Greatest American Hero” with William Katt. And that made me realize that if Hollywood ever gets that “Greatest American Hero” motion picture revival back on track, they should seriously consider Katt Williams as the star... I’m just sayin’.



    

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