Bill Maher - Be More Cynical
HBO // Unrated // $19.97 // April 5, 2005
Review by John Sinnott | posted April 12, 2005
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Graphical Version
The Show:

Bill Maher, the creator of Politically Incorrect and currently appearing on HBO in Real Time with Bill Maher, is one of the most outspoken comics working today.  His humor is very politically incorrect, but also very funny.  He had an HBO special in 2000, the critically acclaimed Be More Cynical, which has now been released on DVD.

Bill starts off this stand-up comedy show railing against the government and the political contributions they take:  "You do realize that your represented by soulless cash whores.  And when I say that I don't mean any disrespect to actual whores."  He doesn't like the government, and isn't afraid to say so.  That doesn't mean he's right wing though, he has a lot to say against both sides of the political spectrum, as well as the middle.

He makes sure to slam George W. Bush, who wasn't yet president, but he also gets some jabs in on Gore.  There are more Bush jokes, to be sure, and any die hard fan of the president would probably get offended.  Then again, just about everyone will be offended by something in this show, which isn't a bad thing.  If nothing else it will make you think about your beliefs and why you feel the way you do.

One of Maher's favorite topics is drugs, and he makes his position on the war against drugs pretty clear.  "I've never done heroin.  I wouldn't recommend heroin...but it hasn't hurt my record collection."

Other topics that he makes fun of include the government's law suit against tobacco companies, the lack of gun control in the US, and women's rights.  "Feminism is so close to Communism..."  He also pokes fun at religion:  "The Bible, if you read it, sounds like it started as a game of Madlibs. 'And God made woman out of a... rib.'"

The show is very funny, but it is also dated now.  When Bill starts talking about the McCoys of Iowa, I had to scratch my head for a minute.  (They are family where the mother gave birth to sextuplets.)  The talk about Clinton and Monica Lewinsky also comes across as very old.  When he started into his bit about that I had to sigh, anyone who lived through that time is surely tired of the jokes by now.

This would have been a great DVD to purchase four or five years ago, but now, too many of the topics come across as ancient history.  While 'G. W. Bush is dumb' jokes were new in 2000, now they come across as tired and dull.  Similarly, jokes concerning McCain's presidential bid in the 2000 primaries doesn't have the same impact now.  A good show, but a little past its time.

The DVD:


Audio:

This disc comes with a Dolby Surround audio track.  This is a spoken word show and the dialog came through clearly.  There are no subtitles.

Video:

The full frame image was fine.  The picture was a little soft, but otherwise it looked good.

Extras:

There are no extras on this disc.

Final Thoughts:

I was a big fan of Politically Incorrect when it was on the air, and really enjoy Bill Maher's humor.  His style is slightly  aggressive, and his jokes deal with current events.  Because of that, the fact that this special is about five years old really makes it out of date.  The jokes are still funny, but they don't have the urgency and impact that they would have five years ago.  The show really comes across as dated.  There are still some bits that are very funny though, and this is well worth a rental.
 



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