Corey Holcomb: The Problem Is You
Shout Factory // Unrated // $19.98 // June 15, 2004
Review by Adam Tyner | posted June 16, 2004
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"I want to let all of the ladies also know -- I noticed some of you have your hair cut in the real short hairstyles. That looks nice on some of you. Some of you may want to re-evaluate the situation, okay? Ladies with the big forehead? If your forehead looks like an Expedition windshield, you might wanna keep a bang in the front."

If you've been keeping an eye on this season of Last Comic Standing, you might recognize the name Corey Holcomb. If not, go ahead and close your web browser 'cause you're really not going to care about the next couple of paragraphs. Corey's DVD, The Problem Is You, marks the inaugural release from Shout! Factory's new "Breakout Comedy Series". The only problem...? He's not a breakout comedian. Corey Holcomb isn't ready to headline, let alone launch a line of stand-up comedy DVDs. He might be one day -- he seems really comfortable on stage and has an easy, natural delivery. For right now, though, Corey's just a decent feature. His set barely breaks a half-hour in length, and regular viewers of Last Comic Standing have already heard slightly-watered-down chunks of a lot of it. Virtually all of his material is cocky sex-slash-relationship humor, and although I get that's his schtick (he's nicknamed "the ghetto Dr. Phil"), there's nothing to really distinguish it from the eight quadrillion other comedians doing the same sorts of bits. It's sporadically funny, like the bits about his price cap for a first date, picking up women in K-Mart, the five distinct types of ladies in a gentleman's rotation, and the ominously titled closer, "The Joke That Will Get You Fired From Your Job". It's hard for me to justify spending $18 on a half-hour DVD even if it does include a bonus CD, especially when the comedy is so hit-or-miss. The smirking sexual material's just too ordinary -- not bad, but mostly unremarkable. Fans cheering on Corey in Last Comic Standing should definitely check out The Problem Is You, but otherwise, stick with a rental or pass entirely.

Video: The Problem is You is enhanced for widescreen televisions, looking like it was shot on prosumer-grade digital video. That obviously means there are none of the flaws that sneak into some film transfers. The DVD is authored pretty well, without any glaringly noticeable artifacts creeping around. Its only technical shortcoming is that it wasn't shot with pricier equipment, but it generally looks pretty good, especially the closer the camera closes in on Corey. The longer shots tend to seem kind of soft. Stand-up DVDs generally aren't particularly interesting visually; I mean, there's only so much you can do with a guy, a mic, and a stage. This venue has a big black curtain in the background, and since most of the shots of Corey are pretty tight, all you see is him and a dark, blank screen.

Audio: The DVD sports an LPCM soundtrack at a healthy bitrate of 1536Kbps. The audio's great -- Corey comes through really well, with no distortion or edginess, and the crowd serves up some pretty nice stereo separation up front. There are no alternate soundtracks, subtitles, or closed captions.

Supplements: The biggest extra is an audio CD of Corey's set. It's pretty easy to stumble upon stand-up specials available on both CD and DVD, if you don't mind shelling out an extra $15 for each. It's great to see that Shout! Factory packaged The Problem Is You this way, and it looks like CDs might come standard issue with their stand-up releases. Next month's Pablo Francisco DVD comes with one too, at least. The other extras are pretty light. First up is a forgettable three minute backstage interview with Corey. "Get the #*@! Away From Each Other: Free Advice from the Ghetto Dr. Phil" (yes, I painstakingly transcribed the pre-censored profanity) has Corey dispensing advice to the lovelorn. Think Dear Abby if...well, Abby weren't dead and rotting...and if Abby spent five and a half minutes reading from off-screen cue cards in a stilted, under-rehearsed, this-really-should've-been-edited-better kind of way. "Corey's Love Lair" is a screen saver to help set the mood, and it can be viewed full-frame or in widescreen. The DVD includes a set of 4x3 animated menus, and the disc's eighteen chapter stops are listed on an insert tucked inside the keepcase.

Conclusion: If you've liked Corey Holcomb on Last Comic Standing, give this DVD a shot. It has a bunch of the same material, only free from the shackles of network television Standards and Practices, along with an audio CD of the entire set. If you haven't had a chance to catch Corey on television, I wouldn't really recommend forking over a credit card sight-unseen.

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