Some people remember where they were on 9/11, or the birth of their first child, life-changing events where you're able to recall the day's events. While watching Mitch Fatel may not be considered life-changing perhaps even to Mitch Fatel, I can say that I remember where I was when I watched his most recent concert on DVD. Now, after seeing it, I've got to admit that Mitch Fatel Is Magical does deliver on its "truth in advertising" concept.
As one who was unfamiliar with Fatel's material, I was surprised to learn that not only was he an intern on the Howard Stern radio show for a brief period, but he also did some work as a correspondent on Jay Leno's Tonight Show. This is, of course, excluding any stand-up appearances he did on the late night circuit. I thought, without any research that Fatel was another comic in the mold of a Dane Cook, someone whose superficial good looks masked any deficiencies in his comedy, no matter how large they were.
I did not expect Fatel to come out with a stage persona that could be considered unique, but you've got a guy whose mannerisms appear to make him a love child of Emo Phillips and Steven Wright, with a certain deadpan nature that also has some fidgeting unease to him. And he delivers his material with an accent that would make you wonder why you left Napoleon Dynamite on TV. Yet he makes his stand-up material work with relative ease. Not many people can make jokes about bestiality or having sex with a woman on her period while giving you an "aw shucks" grin, but Fatel does just that, captivating the audience with his charming, boyish delivery. He's able to manipulate the audience rather easily.
This proves important because when the punchline comes, the audience might not know what happened, but they're almost surprised that they laughed about a oral sex joke being compared to a child's first day at school. Oddly enough, they aren't embarrassed for laughing, as they shouldn't be for two reasons. First, compared to other comics I've heard tell jokes about sexual experiences, Fatel isn't explicit, though his jokes do wander into TV-MA material occasionally. Second and most important, the jokes are actually funny. I found myself laughing at the hour-long performance much more than I was expecting, and in short I was both amazed and amused by Fatel.
With all that, does that make Mitch Fatel "Magical," as the DVD would imply? He controls an audience and subtly hammers them with funny and occasionally cringe worthy jokes that you might not want to laugh at. But he does it in such a way that you can't help but do so. He's funny, he's talented and he's entertaining, so yeah, I guess that would make him magical.
The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation of Mitch Patel is Magical is solid viewing. There's little in the way of edge enhancement or noise issues in the picture that would detract from the show, and the few colors in the feature don't oversaturate and distract from the experience either. The source material is both clean and recent, and the disc looks solid.
Dolby Digital two-channel stereo and 5.1 surround sound options to choose from, a pleasant surprised for this spoken word event. The dialogue doesn't fade or pan out, and you don't have to adjust the volume at all during the concert. Audience noise flows easily through all speakers, making the viewer feel as if they were part of the performance. Comedy Central continues to do good work on these performance discs, and this is no exception.
Well the additional footage is labeled a little differently on the back cover than it is on the disc, which is marginally annoying. You've got some interview footage with fans (7:11) before and after the show, where they share their thoughts, impressions and impersonations of Fatel. A quick peek at the photoshoot for the DVD cover is next (:57), followed by a 47-second outtake. An animated segment of Fatel's comedy (1:03) completes the disc.
Mitch Fatel Is Magical. He really is. The stand-up performance is funny and the guy delivering it is a pleasant turn from the Andrew Dice Clays and Sam Kinisons that I recall growing up. Assuming Comedy Central isn't replaying this to death, I'd strongly consider renting this to check out his work, which I firmly believe will be a gateway drug to buying his comedy albums.