If all you know Bobcat Goldthwait as is the Police Academy guy with the crazy voice (no, not the one that does the sound effects), you're missing out. Recently, Goldthwait has carved out a name for himself as a film director, having recently made the hilarious World's Greatest Dad with Robin Williams and this year's God Bless America with Joel Murray (not to mention his '80s cult classic Shakes the Clown). When Goldthwait first became famous, however, he did so as a stand-up comedian, and his new DVD You Don't Look the Same Either is a recording of a set in Glendale that originally aired on Showtime.
Goldthwait's act is very stream-of-consciousness, detouring and jumping through hoops before doubling back to find whatever point Goldthwait was intending to make 20 minutes earlier. He tells several supposedly true Hollywood stories (and takes note of how often he starts a story with "this is a true story!"), stories about his daughter, stories about being on "Hollywood Squares" and "The Tonight Show," all of which are sprinkled with outrageous doses of racial humor, dark humor, and R-rated language.
Over the course of this 57-minute special, Goldthwait's references range from vintage to current. Most of the current material is political, including talk about Arnold Schwarzenegger's departure as governor of California, and one of his best jokes is a metaphor about the public's reaction to Obama, although he also covers some of his time directing Jimmy Kimmel Live. His enthusiasm is pretty amusing in and of itself, as he rides a miniature emotional rollercoaster based on whether he feels the audience is on his side. At one point he hops off stage to dedicate a joke about his balls to a random woman in the crowd.
However, the big complaint about this particular show is that a huge amount of it -- maybe 60% of the material or more -- is identical to the material on his CD I Don't Mean to Insult You, But You Look Like Bobcat Goldthwait, right down to the title joke. That CD was released in 2003, which means many of these jokes are almost a decade old. Maybe Goldthwait felt that the audience (which he mentions is frighteningly young) will simply not have heard the material, or maybe the idea is just that this DVD is intended for people interested based on his recent movies. I'm reminded of the way comedians like Aziz Ansari and Louis C.K., both recently releasing material, stressed that it was different than other albums or DVDs. If you're a fan of Goldthwait's, and you've heard that CD, there's little reason to pick up this disc.
The front of the DVD actually looks quite nice. Stand-up comedy DVD covers never look all that great -- usually the comedian in front of a plain colored background making a wacky face -- but the art here takes the backdrop of the act and updates it with a current picture of Goldthwait. The back cover is a little more questionable: who chose the bizarre belt buckle photo frames? The disc comes in an eco-case (the kind that uses less plastic, not the kind with holes punched in the case), and there is a small insert inside promoting some of Entertainment One's other "Urban Comedy" DVDs.
The Video and Audio
This 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation suggests that You Don't Look the Same Either was probably shot in standard definition. Contrast is weak, artifacts roil and crawl through the shadowy backs of the crowd's heads. Long shots display low fine detail, but close-ups look basically okay. Sound is similarly unimpressive: 2.0 Dolby Digital is designed simply to get the job done, with Bobcat's jokes coming through the front and the sound of the audience coming through the back. Of course, stand-up presentations really don't need to look or sound better than this. I wish the presentation was better, but I also don't really need it to be better to fully enjoy the program.
None. Trailers for Donald Glover: Weirdo, John Pinette: Still Hungry, Lavell Crawford: Can a Brother Get Some Love?, Pablo Francisco: They Put It Out There, Rickey Smiley: Open Casket Sharp, and Sebastian Maniscalco: What'S Wrong With People? play before the main menu, and all are unusually excruciating, especially Pinette's -- something about stand-up doesn't lend itself to trailers.
Goldthwait is a great film director and a funny guy, and I look forward to seeing new things from him. Of course, the emphasis there is on new -- sadly, this disc suffers from being mostly the same stuff he was doing ten years earlier. His Wikipedia entry says he actually considers himself to be retired from stand-up, so on a personal level, I can cut him some slack, but this disc is a skip it for fans.