Old gags and bad timing make for weak comedy
Obviously comfortable in front of a crowd, Morgan works through a set that doesn't stray far from a select few topics: getting old, the differences between white and black people, and relationships between men and women. It's well-traveled territory, and Morgan, changing directions rapidly with his trademark drawling delivery, doesn't bring a whole lot of freshness to the discussion. It was thought perhaps we were past the old "white people dance like this, but black people dance like this" bit, but Morgan reaches way down into the well and drags it right back up, before applying the old tact to other such racially-divided areas like anger (with Mel Gibson being symbolic of scary white rage) and sex (which apparently isn't quite as porn-tastic with black women.) Surely race relations are fertile ground for comedy, but it takes a bit of effort and originality to make it truly funny. Simply making President Obama into a gangsta doesn't quite do the trick.
Releasing this DVD now may have been a case of some awful timing, as he's now viewed through a current prism in which Morgan has been vilified for his comments about homosexuality and the handicapped. Well, he goes right to those topics here, joking that gay people are too sensitive about what's said about them ("this gay **** is going too far") and the same goes for handicapped people as well, wrapping up his set with his tale of dating a severely handicapped woman, one of the least funny finales I've seen in stand-up. Now, sure, I'm a liberal, but I have no issue with non-PC comedy. Some of my favorite comics trade in the impolite. If these gags were funny (and admittedly, one of the gay jokes drew a smile) it would be one thing, but they just don't work. And it's pretty obvious that timing is one of Morgan's main foes, as his bit about trying to find Osama Bin Laden is a tad pointless now.
Morgan is at his best when he's being goofy, which is evident when he pretends to be a cocaine-addled penis or demonstrates the silliness of a guy's O-face. In fact, when he's telling a long, not-very-funny story about a guy in a wheelchair, he nearly saves the entire bit by miming a fight. There's nothing wrong with being a clown if you're good at it, and Morgan's physicality lends itself to some very funny gags, but he just keeps going back to the same old. Here's a breakdown of the act: Black audiences, getting old, black people, sex, drugs, black people, black anger, black superheroes, hoes, Black people, black president, black people on planes, lesbians, gay people, handicapped people, sex, black sex, handicapped women. I'm not expecting topical humor or clever wordplay from Tracy Morgan, but playing to his strengths and adding a little variety would go a long way.
This disc offers a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, which is good, keeping some nice separation between Morgan and the audience's reaction, and delivering his voice clearly. There's nothing to complain about with this presentation, but nothing worth honoring either.
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