Maybe I'm wrong, but I've come to the conclusion that stand-up fans need to be more demanding. Watch some of the classic stand-up specials from years ago and then watch that last season of "Last Comic Standing" and then ask yourself where did things go so wrong? Comedians today are all too happy to try and mine for the same race and sex jokes over and over again. Maybe it's just me, but I'm tired of hearing, "Don't you just hate when men/women ________?" It's comedy Mad Libs, and even if the subject is the same, I just don't want to be able to predict the joke because I've heard something similar a thousand times before. What everyone thinks is funny varies, but I think there's a few jokes that are universally...heard too damn often.
As for Def Jam Comedy, the series started in 1992 on HBO, where the series presented stars like Chris Rock, Chris Tucker, Bernie Mac, Martin Lawrence and many others. The series provided a showcase for largely African-American stand-ups until 1996, but then came back in 2006 with host DL Hughley. This set offers the 2008 season of the series, which - once again - offers up a series of 3-4 comedians, with Hughley's act for a minute or two between the acts.
Watching the set isn't too much of a surprise - there's a few great performers, a bunch that have their moments and a bunch that are forgettable. Gilson Lubin is one of the few highlights - leading off the second episode, he talks about growing up in the Caribbean: "It's so hot you can't even have long-term goals in a place that hot." On being slow as a kid: "I thought bigotry was the oak in front of the neighbor's house. They had a bigger tree than we did."
Lubin's material is genuinely funny and uses curse words for punctuation instead of, "Well, I don't have anything else to say for a second so lets just fill the time with a few 'bitches' and 'f---s'." There's nothing wrong with swearing, but there's something wrong with a comedian swearing for no reason other than they can. Lubin's laid-back delivery is terrific, and he can be laid-back because his material's actually funny, and he doesn't need to yell at the audience to try and push the joke, like a good portion of the other comedians in the set.
Overall, I was looking forward to this set, but found myself a little disappointed. By the time the second disc rolled around I felt I'd heard the same thing too many times. 300 minutes largely consisting of jokes about: sex, sex, sex, sex, race, race, race, sex, sex, race, sex. The few that are able to actually veer onto a different topic or do something fresh with sex stand out that much more against the rest of the group.
VIDEO: HBO presents the set in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. Picture quality is fine, as the presentation offered up a continually crisp, detailed image. Some minor shimmer was spotted, but no edge enhancement or other concerns were noticable. Colors remained bright and well-saturated, with no smearing or other faults.
SOUND: Crisp, clear stereo soundtrack.
EXTRAS: There's a series of clips/featurettes ("Patrice On America 1/2", "Every Black Show", "Collaboration" and "Nod America" on the second disc - a few minor laughs here-and-there, but nothing worth viewing more than once.
Final Thoughts:Overall, I was looking forward to this set, but found myself a little disappointed. Hours of comedy offered some jokes in-between a ton of repetitive jokes. The DVD set boasts a couple of extras and fine audio/video quality. Recommended for fans only. Others can skip it.