Greg Giraldo has been a mainstay on Comedy Central for much of the last decade. He's been a regular panelist on a number of shows including Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn and Lewis Black's Root of All Evil. Of course, he will be most recognized due to his numerous appearances on the Comedy Central Roasts for celebrities ranging from William Shatner to Bob Saget. This DVD captures Giraldo's performance at Union Square Theatre in New York City. With a hilarious stage presence and sharply written material, Giraldo provides a solid hour of intelligently rude stand-up and knocks this one out of the park.
After a quick introductory scene with Giraldo backstage, we are launched right into the show and are immediately made aware of his skewed perspective on the world and its inhabitants. I don't want to repeat any of Giraldo's jokes because I'm only going to ruin them. However, I do feel it would be helpful to touch upon some of his topics so you can see the leaps in logic that he makes. Early in the show, he mentions the energy crisis and notes how Americans will always need large cars because of our plump children, or 'big fat waddling weebles' as he puts it. If you think I've ruined the punchline, don't worry. He goes on to link the energy crisis with Brazilian waxing in a manner that is both impressive and slightly unhinged.
Giraldo's comedic style is conversational and rant-based. He riffs on everything from politics to marriage woes to Koala sex. He usually starts with topics that countless other comics have tackled before him but quickly takes them to surreal places that will reward attentive viewers. Not to put too fine a point on it, but there is a vicious streak of vulgar intelligence running through Giraldo's material and delivery. How else would someone be able to derive a cure for the common cold from the aforementioned Koala sex? These touches of whimsy taken together with Giraldo's sly smile, promise that in time he will surely grow into the role of everyone's filthy uncle that he seems to be gunning for.
Another segment worth mentioning is the one where he deals with a sleeping audience member. I've seen comics deal with hecklers and other unruly audience members in a number of ways. Some just get flustered while others get really mean. Giraldo approaches the audience member with thoughtful concern. He tries to learn what could possibly possess an audience member to pay for a ticket and then fall asleep in the third row. When he fails to engage the sleeper in a meaningful way, Giraldo does the next best thing and unleashes a ridiculous Jamaican accent that just works perfectly in context.
The show was presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio with anamorphic enhancement. Thanks to a number of cameras being employed, the show consisted of many long shots of the stage interspersed with close-ups and crowd shots. Throughout the image was consistently crisp and free from defects. The color palette of the simple stage setup was also conveyed quite nicely.
The audio was presented in a 2.0 Stereo mix. Giraldo's words came through clearly and laughter from the audience was well represented without overwhelming the happenings on stage. The audio mix didn't knock my socks off but given the nature of the material it met my expectations.
All the show segments could be individually accessed through Chapters from the main menu. There were only two extras on this release but they proved to be entertaining and substantial. The first extra was an installment of Comedy Central Presents featuring Greg. This 22 minute episode shows Greg honing his skills in 2000. Even back then Giraldo was mining many of the same topics like the homeless, obesity, prejudice and marriage. If anything he was a little less jaded, but fortunately still very funny. This stand-up set is presented in 1.33:1 aspect ratio and is completely uncensored. The image is slightly flat but is more than adequate.
The second extra is a Never Before Seen Adult Content Pilot. As the name suggests, this is an unaired 20 minute long episode for a show called Adult Content. The show comes off as an irreverent version of the Real Sex series on HBO with Giraldo playing the role of genial host. An interview segment featuring a lady who runs a sex toy website for Christian couples should tell you all you need to know about the show's focus. If that's not enough, the credits are played over two people in panda suits engaging in Kamasutra positions. The show is amusing enough but I can see why it never made it past the pilot stage. Although it has its moments, it never really comes together as a cohesive whole. The full frame image is very clear but the show has been censored for language.
Greg Giraldo has been a fixture on Comedy Central over the last decade and with good reason. During every Comedy Central Roast, his segment is usually one of the highlights, often upstaging more well known comedians in the process. With a comedic style that is both conversational and rant-heavy, Giraldo manages to tinge his observations with surreal touches that are very welcome. This hour long set captures Giraldo in fine form and deserves to be seen by fans of intelligently rude comedy. With a crisp image, clear audio and entertaining extras, this release is Highly Recommended.