"Comedy Central Presents" offers the full/uncensored Comedy Central stand-up specials from 8 different comedians. The bunch couldn't be a more diverse group in terms of styles and couldn't be a more different group in terms of people who are, you know, funny and not. The line-up is: Lewis Black, Jim Gaffigan, Carlos Mencia, Dane Cook, Mitch Hedberg, Dimitri Martin, Jeff Dunham and Brian Regan.
Standing at the top of the heap are Gaffigan and Black, who contribute hysterical routines and have their own unique brand of delivery (especially Black's famed rants) and terrific material. Gaffigan's routine really doesn't have any down moments, starting with a discussion of the unique brand of pride that folks from Indiana have ("We're from Indiana....we're moving.") to how bottled water is a plot by the French, how several Mexican dishes are oddly similar.
While Lewis Black has had some phenomenal specials, this is one of the better ones, including a discussion of the Super Bowl and its musical acts ("I see N'Sync and Aerosmith...and I am confused.") and, probably most famously, his thoughts about finding the end of the universe - a point where a Starbucks is across from another Starbucks ("Go there, and stand between the Starbucks...and time stands still!")
I'd never heard of Dimitri Martin, but his observational ("One of my friends has a stutter. People think that's a bad thing, but I think it's like starting a sentence with a drumroll."), slightly surreal ("I don't like lollipops, because lollipops are candy plus garbage.") comedy was one of the more pleasant surprises here, including a hysterical use of a giant book of "joke enhancers" and a fairy tale-ish song ending about where his jokes come from. Martin's delivery is top-notch and his writing is - as stand-up goes these days - inspired, rather original and intelligent.
Lets get the bad news out of the way before going any further. I don't get Dane Cook. I don't like Carlos Mencia either, and having him come out on stage with a backdrop whose main feature is a banner that says "Carlos Rules" didn't exactly help that opinion.
Things improve with Brian Regan, who devotes most of his material to the absurdity (or, better yet, futility) of dieting and staying healthy. Regan's act has some high notes and great delivery, but his material can seem a little ordinary or been there, done that. It's an entertaining set and it's funny, but falls short of hilarious. Mitch Hedberg offers a set that gets some very big laughs, but it is a little difficult and sad to watch the comedian knowing that he tragically passed away at a young age only a couple of years ago. Jeff Dunham rounds out the bunch, offering his puppet-assisted bits and managing to knock out a few solid chuckles. Gaffigan and Black remain the favorites for me, however, with Martin following close behind.
VIDEO: Paramount offers all episodes in their original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. Presentation quality is essentially broadcast quality, with reasonably good sharpness and detail. Some minor shimmering occasionally appears, as does a hint or two of artifacting. Otherwise, the picture remained clean and clear, with accurate color.
SOUND: Crisp, clear stereo soundtrack.
EXTRAS: Comedy central promos.
Final Thoughts: While the selection is a bit of a mixed bag, the best of the performances are certainly hysterical and even the more average ones get a few chuckles. The DVD doesn't really offer anything in the way of extras, but audio/video quality is fine. Recommended for fans.