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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Kathy Griffin - Allegedly
Kathy Griffin - Allegedly
Starz / Anchor Bay // Unrated // November 30, 2004
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Francis Rizzo III | posted December 7, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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In 10 Words or Less
Celeb-slashing comic's first stand-up DVD

The Show
Since "Suddenly Susan" ended its run on network TV, Kathy Griffin has carved out a unique career for herself on reality shows and by attacking self-important famous people from her safe perch as a quasi-celebrity. Though she does stand-up comedy, she doesn't tell jokes, instead relying on her stories about meeting (and being rejected by) much bigger celebrities. Oddly enough, she may be more well-known than some of her targets, as she seems to do just about everything a low-level celeb is offered, putting her face out there in every medium.

Speaking of the face, it's a different one than Kathy Griffin fans are used to, as this is her post-surgery look, which, to me, is quite a change compared to the face I once knew. After some dramatic facial work, she's more "glamorous" which creates something of a conflict between the harsh words and gentle face. Interestingly, she appears without make-up in an intro piece that plays before the show. After all that effort, why she allowed herself to be taped looking this way is a mystery. Sure she's not shy about the fact that she went under the knife, but why let that work go to waste? While her look may have changed, it hasn't affected her personality, which is still edgy and cynical.

Though there are bits and pieces about Brooke Shield's wedding, working with Eminem and getting banned from "The View", her show, "Allegedly," has two main parts, one about her experiences on the red carpet at the Vogue Vh1 Fashion Awards and the other about her trip to Afghanistan with the U.S.O. to visit the troops. The red-carpet segment is vintage Griffin, as she riffs on celebs and their complexities, making fun of Renee Zellweger and Gwyneth Paltrow among many others. It's hard to not agree with the way she talks about these people who seem to be above it all. Hearing someone knock them down a few pegs is a great treat.

The U.S.O. story is not her usual thing, but it's just as funny, as she takes apart the more ridiculous parts of the military, E- and F-list celebrities and Muslim countries. Trapped in a world she definitely doesn't belong in, Griffin goes into cornered animal mode, and her funny rage is the perfect women as she lashes out at genital mutilation and the Afghani national army with the feces hands. Though it's not far removed from what's going on in the news, she sells the jokes with her own special brand of over-exaggeration.

Far from demure, Griffin doesn't pull any punches, which is exactly why she's funny. But she's not for everyone. On her website, she describes her audience precisely as gay guys, college kids and secretaries, admitting she's not popular with middle-aged heterosexual men. That's probably because she's so catty that she appeals to people known for their cattiness. Middle-aged men are normally running towards a sports bar when faced with that attitude. Griffin may be working in a comedy ghetto, but it's a very funny ghetto for those comfortable there.

The DVDs
Griffin's DVD isn't the most packed effort, with one 90-minute show and a bonus feature packed on one disc. An animated full-screen main menu includes scene selection options (with static preview photos) and access to the bonus feature. There are no subtitles or captions or language choices. The disc comes packed in a keepcase with a 4-page insert that includes chapter stops and a letter from Griffin.

The Quality
Shot on video, against a dark background, Griffin is well defined with excellent skintones. By nature, there's not much in the way of color, but what there is looks good. The level of detail is quite high, with the ends of her hair clearly obvious and the shimmering fabric of her shirt coming across clearly. There are some limited crowd shots, and they all look good as well. The digital authoring caused no problems, making for a great looking show. The audio, presented in simple 2-channel Dolby is good for what this disc needed. A stand-up act only needs to keep the audience from overpowering the comic in order to sound good, and this disc does it.

The Extras
There's just one extra on this DVD, but it's different than the fluff on most discs. Checking in at just over nine minutes is a home video reel of Griffin's trip to Afghanistan as part of the U.S.O. The accompanying audio is low, because Griffin provides a non-optional screen-specific commentary where she jokes about everything. A celebrity in a warzone isn't something you see every day, so it's a pretty interesting extra, and one you wouldn't expect on a stand-up DVD. It's interesting that this was included on this disc, as her pre-surgery look is quite different than the glossier look she has in the main feature.

The Bottom Line
Kathy Griffin's one of those comediennes who divides audiences due to her caustic wit and an abrasive style that's not everyone's cup of tea. There's no arguing though that she brings a great energy to the stage, as well as an excellent ability to tell a story. She's a bit too dirty for some, but her tales of being a D-list celebrity in an A-list world are hilarious, if only because of the way she spins them. The DVD presentation isn't quite as impressive, but the home movies are a nice touch. Fans of Griffin will want to pick this up immediately, because this is her at her best, but if you're looking for traditional stand-up jokes, look elsewhere.


Francis Rizzo III is a native Long Islander, where he works in academia. In his spare time, he enjoys watching hockey, writing and spending time with his wife, daughter and puppy.

Check out 1106 - A Moment in Fictional Time or follow him on Twitter


*The Reviewer's Bias section is an attempt to help readers use the review to its best effect. By knowing where the reviewer's biases lie on the film's subject matter, one can read the review with the right mindset.

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