With the rise and continued dominance of reality television, even the most unlikely of actors, musicians and otherwise forgettable personalities have cultivated second acts, seemingly lucrative careers out of basically being outsized, camera-ready versions of themselves. It's fascinating, a little bit tragic and predominantly a very sad commentary on the state of American television, which nearly every single channel has some sort of reality series on the schedule, whether it's the grim pathos of "Intervention" or the uplifting "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."
But even musicians aren't immune to the lure of reality TV: Former Public Enemy hype man Flavor Flav (the only rapper to have not one, but two signature catchphrases: "Flayyyyyy-verr Flayyyyyy-vve!" and "Yeeeeeahhhh boyeeee!") slipped from the public spotlight in the early Nineties, as the seminal rap group drifted apart. But when cable music channel VH1 came calling and brought the world the bizarre series "Flavor of Love," which, put quite charitably, allowed Flav to select the woman of his dreams from an iffy batch of hopefuls, the rapper enjoyed a resurgence in popularity.
After three seasons and a seemingly endless string of skanks (not to mention thematic spin-offs like the Bret Michaels-centric "Rock of Love" or Tila Tequila's "A Shot at Love"), Flav says he's moved on and settled down with the woman of his dreams. Which brings us to this Comedy Central special, all de-bleeped and raunched up for its "extended," "uncensored" release on DVD.
WIth the no-holds-barred Katt Williams serving as roastmaster, everyone from Patton Oswalt and Lisa Lampanelli to Brigitte Nielsen and Ice-T takes a verbal swipe (or four) at the goofily ostentatious rapper. While there are plenty of howlingly funny one-liners aimed at Flav and those assembled, this ain't your daddy's Dean Martin roast. No, this one aims low, grabbing seemingly whatever B-, C- or D-list celebrity will commit to an evening's taping, however tangential their relationship to the victim/honoree, and turning them loose. Lots of vicious, borderline ugly insults are hurled but by the time the 73-minute show wraps up, you might just be numb to it all.
This uncensored version of the roast simply strips away the network-friendly bleeps, allowing all the richly delivered profanity to be heard in all its glory. Like the rest of the Comedy Central roasts, this one only marginally recognizes the person at the center, preferring instead to parade a host of semi-recognizable faces before the camera and letting them unload with both barrels. It's amusing in small doses, but can be grueling to sit through more than once.
Presented as originally broadcast on Comedy Central, the Flavor Flav roast arrives on DVD with a perfectly acceptable 1.33:1 fullscreen transfer that gets the job done, with bright colors, rich blacks and the occasional fuzzy edge. Aside from that fleeting hiccup, this is a fine transfer of recently filmed material.
Again, as originally broadcast, the roast roars onto DVD with a Dolby 2.0 stereo track that conveys every ripe rejoinder with a minimum of fuss. There's no distortion, drop-out or other aural flaw, leaving just the dialogue and incidental music to be delivered with no problems.
Kudos to the Comedy Central folks -- they stretched (and essentially split up) 40 minutes of backstage footage into five different featurettes, giving the illusion of quantity and quality, when in fact, most of this is completely disposable. The biggest bonus is 33 minutes and 21 second of red carpet interviews (presented in fullscreen), conducted by the over-enthusiastic Mason Vargas (who makes the cringe-worthy confession that hosting this red carpet is a "dream" for him). A 52 second snippet titled "Backstage Pass: Pre-Show" (presented in fullscreen) wanders around before the shindig, while the one minute, one second snippet titled "Backstage Pass: Post-Show" (presented in fullscreen) does the exact same thing afterward. The 51 second "Flav Gives a Tour" (presented in fullscreen) follows the rapper into his trailer, while the six minute, 17 second "Flavor-cam" (presented in dodgy fullscreen) takes you on a mini-odyssey from trailer to red carpet to backstage. Comedy Central "quickies" for "The Colbert Report," "Lil' Bush," "The Sarah Silverman Program" and "South Park" complete the disc.
WIth the no-holds-barred Katt Williams serving as roastmaster, everyone from Patton Oswalt and Lisa Lampanelli to Brigitte Nielsen and Ice-T takes a verbal swipe (or four) at goofily ostentatious rapper Flavor Flav. While there are plenty of howlingly funny one-liners aimed at Flav and those assembled, this ain't your daddy's Dean Martin roast. No, this one aims low, grabbing seemingly whatever B-, C- or D-list celebrity will commit to an evening's taping, however tangential their relationship to the victim/honoree, and turning them loose. Rent it.