In 10 Words or Less
Another set of Regan's clean, yet hilarious comedy
Loves: Stand-up comedy
Likes: Brian Regan, snow cones
Dislikes: Science Fairs
Hates: Spelling rules
I've seen Brian Regan once live and in four separate TV specials, and I can honestly say, outside of his encores and Opie and Anthony appearances, I don't think I've ever heard him tell the same joke twice (even if, as seen in this special, the crowd would love to hear them.) That's pretty impressive for a comic who's neither really topical nor dirty, so the range of his material is perhaps more limited than other comedians.
Here, with a title that fits his act to a T, as he can make something as simple as toasting a pop tart into a life-or-death struggle (not to mention recalling his classic phonics bit,) he takes the stage at the Paramount in Denver, Colorado, with more jokes about things you can relate to, like amusement park rides, the American legal system and getting caught in conversations you have no business being in (a nominee for the Regan Jokes About Being Stupid Hall of Fame.) It's classic Regan, as he can take a joke that's not all that witty or funny on the surface and make it hilarious simply by adding an over-the-top reaction.
Watching him bound around the stage, punctuating gags with shrugs, smirks and odd bouncing, there's a strange, uncanny resemblance to George W. Bush's frequent displays of unearned self-satisfaction. Thus, it makes sense that so much of Regan's act focuses on people being stupid, both on Earth and beyond. Using his famous sputtering, slow and extremely loud stupid-speak and stunningly spastic faces he plays dumb to the extreme, which comes in handy when talking about being unable to appreciate cultured pursuits like fine art and opera.
The goofy faces and manic physicality are more apparent in this special though, than they have been in the past, which might be a bit disappointing to his core fan base, as they overshadow the wordplay and silliness he's made a name on, though admittedly I was in tears when he first broke them out. It's watching him go back to the well again and again that robs the bit of its juice. Unfortunately, it's not the only disappointment, as the final segment, where Regan tackles the old comic mainstay of men vs. women, just hits a brick wall. All of a sudden, it's all over. It's one of the most abrupt, awkward endings I've seen from a stand-up comic, and certainly one that Regan is better than.
A one-disc release, this DVD is packed in a standard keepcase with an insert that lists the topics Regan covers and even the jokes he tells. Unfortunately, you can't jump to them, as the disc has no chapter stop menu. The animated, anamorphic widescreen menu instead offers a play button, and options to watch the special features and adjust languages. Audio options include English Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0, while there are no subtitles, though closed captioning is available.
The anamorphic widescreen transfer on this special is simply gorgeous. Deep, beautiful color is all over the well-designed stage behind Regan, and the direction by "Mr. Show" veteran Troy Miller is excellent, hitting the close-ups just when needed by Regan's jokes. The clarity of the image is very nice as well, while there are no issues with dirt or damage, nor are there any noticeable issues with digital artifacts.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is a great example of what you can do with the limited audio of a stand-up comedy act, putting Regan dead center with clear dialogue, while putting the viewer in the midst of the audience by putting their reactions in the side and rear speakers. There's nothing dynamic about the audio, but that's not needed either.
I got excited to see there's an encore segment available on this DVD, as his jokes-by-request bits bring back his very best. But at just 3:52, all you get are two jokes, and honestly, neither are among his best, as it's his Dora the Explorer joke and his walkie-talkie gag. Again, it's more disappointment for his faithful.
The other extra is better, a nearly 14-minute look behind the scenes of the special, showing how it was all put together. At one point, one of the directors talks about how simple Regan's act is, yet, watching this featurette, it sure seems like it takes a lot of work to get it on TV. It's the rare extra that looks at the making of a stand-up special, so this is a nice bonus.
The Bottom Line
As is usually the case, this stand-up special by Brian Regan is a good time, but it's a bit different than previous shows, marked by a broader sense of humor. As a result, it might rub some fans the wrong way, until it comes to a screeching, uncomfortable halt. The DVD looks and sounds terrific, but, like the show, the extras are a bit of a mixed bag. Thankfully, you'll get a chance to catch the special on TV before the DVD is released, so you can decide for yourself, because this is definitely a case where personal taste will decide if this should be in your collection.
Francis Rizzo III is a native Long Islander, where he works in academia. In his spare time, he enjoys watching hockey, writing and spending time with his wife, daughter and puppy.Check out 1106 - A Moment in Fictional Time or follow him on Twitter
*The Reviewer's Bias section is an attempt to help readers use the review to its best effect. By knowing where the reviewer's biases lie on the film's subject matter, one can read the review with the right mindset.