Our survey of CineSchlocker-approved "reality" programming continues with comedian's comedian Dave Attell. Before anyone runs screaming from their terminal, rest assured this is one of those painfully RARE instances where that particular mantle's worn by a comic who's freaking hilarious! Attell's been working the clubs since the red brick wall days. At 38, he's proven something of an Obi-Wan of dick jokes. However, a taylor-made showcase of his rapier wit, the mark of Dave's true genius, manifested with the Comedy Central debut of "Insomniac" on August 5, 2001. Each entry of this hilarious graveyard-shift cavalcade, this booze-fueled travelogue, begins after Dave's last set of the night and doesn't slow til dawn. Not even for last call. Intrepid cameraman Brian Danitz keeps Attell's every bizarro encounter and accompanying tomfoolery in frame, while Dave himself uses his trusty Instamatic ice-breaker to remember his newest best friends once sobriety sets in. Heck, the theme song really says it best ...
Drunks and losers /
Dwarves with limps /
Flos and ho's and one-eyed pimps /
Down the alleyway they creep /
They're all your friends when you can't sleep /
Come with me and you will see /
A late-night-freak-show-Jubilee! /
Kick the Sandman in his sack /
Stay up late -- Insomniac!
Definitely any CineSchlocker's brand of fun! So, everyone grab your IDs, a fist full of singles and let's join our after-hours tour guide.
NEW ORLEANS (Season 1, Episode 5): Attell joins Sheriff Harry Lee of Jefferson Parish and his SNIPERS in "eradicating" 20-pound, non-indigenous Nutria that infest Southern waterways in ever-increasing numbers. With searchlights blazing and silenced .22 rifles trained from the back of a creeping flatbed, it's easily the most surreal and darkly hilarious vignette of the series, as even our host takes up arms to scatter the brainpans of these fuzzy critters frolicking along a roadside creek. Dave assures viewers, "Just in case you're wondering, A LOT of animals were hurt during the shooting of this!" There's also an inspired encounter with dirt-track racer and lady-killer Booger Pierce (#28) at West Bank Speedway and, of course, OODLES of booze-addled French Quarter shenanigans. But don't expect "Girls Gone Wild." Notables: Two breasts. Six photos. Two shots. Gratuitous urination. Six dead furballs. Python dangling. Mooning. Quotable: "Even at this hour there's still plenty of characters on Bourbon Street. The vampire. The little drunk girl. The stripper with one tooth. All we need is a midget and we've got ourselves a porno movie!"
HOUSTON (Season 1, Episode 6): Dave goes backstage to grill the freshly towel'd winner and buxom runners-up of a wet T-shirt contest. Then introduces them to his friend "Yaegermeister." At the Cypress Fairbanks Rodeo, he covers a chaw-gnawing chick bullrider's entry fee, compares funny-man notes with a pimp'd out rodeo clown and screeches in horror as hundreds of grade schoolers -- up WAY past their bedtimes -- stampede in the "Calf Scramble." Then it's on to shake, rattle and roll with Low Rider gearheads before going on patrol with AstroWorld's lone "Sergeant of Security" who hears tell the theme park just MIGHT be haunted (a la Scooby-Doo). Notables: Two breasts. Five photos. Five shots. Fire breathing. Drunken opera singing. Gratuitous "Saved By The Bell" ref. Quotable: [To rodeo groupies] "It's funny how a woman likes to see a guy fall on the ground and then kinda lay there for a little bit. All hurt and bleeding. But if he lays on the couch all day, then all of a sudden he's a deadbeat, 'Get up and get a job! Stop drinking!' "
CHICAGO (Season 2, Episode 1): Attell takes to the ring in a pair of long johns and gets himself severely body slammed at Windy City Wrestling school. Engages in a floor-by-floor search for a "hot room party" at a Sci-Fi Convention. There he encounters a Harry Potter lookalike and self-loathing virgin. While the prize for biggest gaggle of geeks is a toss-up between the room filled with middle-aged men ogling Hubble Space Telescope photos or the one filled with annoyed folks who'd rather watch Japanese cartoons than chit-chat with Dave. After a swing by a thong contest, it's time for a bite at The Weiner's Circle, which thanks to its trademark barrage of cursing betwixt employees and patrons, takes best comic advantage of the collection's "Uncensored" pedigree. Notables: No breasts. 12 photos. Two shots. Gratuitous babe with lollipop. Quotable: "Wow! It's a crazy kind of quiet. You know, like when a clown's gonna fart."
MONTREAL (Season 2, Episode 8): All fantasies going into a "sex convention" wither into a limp noodle and Dave's just as disappointed as we are. But like anywhere else, he makes friends quickly. First with a giant inflatable penis then with inflated porn starlet "Tangerine" who charts titillating new territory in advertising. Later, after a thorough puck pummeling as an alternate goalie, Attell retreats to a much safer frozen pond to indulge in a bit of ice fishing with some NEW liquor'd up buddies. Notables: Two breasts. Eight photos. Eight shots. Minnow swallowing. Hiney slapping. Frozen fish dance. Quotable: [Attempting to fit in with Canadian rappers] 'WORD!' Can I put a 'word' in there?"
NEW YORK (Season 2, Episode 10): This is actually the third of FOUR episodes thus far exploring Dave's favorite late-night stomping grounds. Straightaway he takes another beating. This time at the hands of an overly enthusiastic instructor at Okinawan Karate Dojo in Queens. Shares hooch and sniffs hineys with the canine patrons of the Brooklyn Ale House. Plays cards and gossips with "Guiding Light" grips waiting for their trade's crack at prepping the soap's sets. Plus, before winding down the night at Harlem's historic Seville Lounge, Attell dances and romances at a "Goddess Party" showcasing BBW. For the uninitiated, that's big, beautiful women. With an emphasis on, ahem, B-I-G! Then viewers get to retreat back to Dave's place for a final sayonara before we're shoo'd away for a whole TV season's worth of sacktime. Notables: Two breasts. 15 photos. Two shots. Kung fu fighting. Indian caterwauling. Foxy boxing. Cranial coitus. Quotable: [At metal concert] "I LOVE THE DEVIL!!! I LOVE THE DEVIL!!! I LOVE THE DEVIL!!! I LOVE THE DEVIL!!! I LOVE THE DEVIL!!!"
What else is on this sucker? Not a goldang thing!!! In fact, the closest thing to an extra would have to be the "Play All" option. There ain't even any chapter stops within episodes! The ha-wah! Why not include a gallery of Dave's signature snapshots? Clips from his various Comedy Central-produced standup specials and guest spots? Teaser track from the riotously raunchy "Skanks for the Memories" comedy album? Those wry diary entries or the silly "My Dirty Dave Attell Doll" dress-up game from the Insomniac website? Nada! Zilch! But to yours truly, this being such a consistently fresh series, the bigger bummer is not going with a seasonal release. Should've been a snap considering there's just TEN episodes per season -- only five more than this noteworthy, yet still hodgepodge sampler. (2002, 107 mins, Fullframe, DD 2.0.)
G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.