Good stand-up and annoying characters do not mix
Comics have been cracking jokes about airports, kids and pets since the first Chuckle Hut opened, and Kroll is no different, but his bits manage to still be original.When he talks about what a bad father he would be, it serves mainly as a lead-in to a Michael Jackson bit told hilariously through his answers to his inquisitive future child. Meanwhile his verbal and visual demonstration of the differences between dogs and cats, which shows that Tim Gunn should voice every cartoon cat forever more, is one of the best examples of that old comedy standard in a long time. His airport segment is great as well, with his short bit about using bouncers as security being just about perfect. This release adds in far more of his act that was cut from the Comedy Central broadcast, so anyone who found the special sadly lacking in Kroll will find the DVD far more palatable.
As funny as Kroll is, adding more of him can't entire overcome the presence of his characters, who take up an unfortunately large amount of the special and are nowhere near as funny as his jokes. From the opening scenes that introduce them, to the welcome from guido security guard Bobby Bottleservice, to the interludes with creepy old liberal Gil and his buddy George (Paul Scheer), to the annoying spoken-word interruption by gangsta-glam caterer Fabrice Fabrice, the characters drag the special to a grinding halt. While it's appreciated that he's trying something different, it's a stand-up special and the expectations are that there will be funny jokes from beginning to end, and that's not quite the case here.
Fortunately, it's not all bad when Kroll Prime isn't on-screen. For as aggravating as Bobby Bottleservice is, he has a couple of funny gags, including a joke about earthquakes that's far funnier than it should be, and Kroll's Spanish DJ character El Chupacabra, previously seen on Reno: 911!, serves as the funny narrator of the special, with one memorable scene involving him, a baby, an old man and a goat. Throw in the best performance by Mindy Kaling, possibly ever, and the sketches are practically excusable. Well, except for Fabrice Fabrice.
The sound disappoints if only because it's a plain vanilla Dolby Digital 2.0 track, and not the 5.1 presentations that serve stand-up comedy so well. Aside from that, it does the job without issue, offering Kroll up front and center with a balanced mix that keeps him clear and clean.
Bobby Bottleservice gets the outtakes treatment next, with 2:12 of cuts from his segments that are also not all that engaging. Fortunately, the final two extras pick up the slack. On the Oh Hello outtakes, featuring Kroll's older character Gil, Paul Scheer saves the day with his improvs, which are truly funny. Then there's outtakes from El Chupacabra's sponsor announcements, which are a bit repetitive, but still fun.
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