Stand up comedy can be a hit-or-miss experience and it doesn't always age well or translate to TV viewing. I was really looking forward to On Location with Redd Foxx since I've loved Sanford and Son since I was a kid and have read of Foxx's influence on generations of comedians since. Taped for HBO's "On Location" series in 1978 at the Silverbird Hotel in Las Vegas, this 45 minute-long program is short on truly funny material. Starting with a hilariously dated HBO opening, the program never really gets going. It's possible that this just isn't Foxx in his prime as far as stand up goes (since he was busy with Sanford at the time), but overall it's disappointing.
He starts out by saying "I swear to God and three other white people you're gonna enjoy me," but then doesn't really approach challenging material. He does strange bits on what the world would be like if you had ears on your ass and makes fun of midgets. It's strange, tired material.
Part of the disconnect might just be because the more risqué material is hardly shocking anymore. The audience titters when Foxx says "motherfucker" or "dick," words that hardly merit mention today.
He's better when he gets into more personal material, but he seems to change gears too quickly. He starts telling stories from his days in the military but almost instantly switches to something else. Sometimes he changes topics mid-sentence without getting to the punchline of the original thread. I'm not sure if he has an incredible ability to read the room and know when a joke won't work or if he's just distracted. It's interesting to see him jump around like that but there are so many unexplored topics that it's unsatisfying.
While I suspect some adjustments have been made, overall this full-frame video looks exactly like what you'd expect a TV production from the 70s to look like: Soft and indistinct. Close-ups look better and sharper, but any wide shot is gummy and ugly.
The Dolby 2.0 audio is clear and good. Nothing special but it works.
Fans of Redd Foxx should definitely rent this act. If you don't go into it expecting wall-to-wall hilarity it does contain some funny material. But overall it's not as memorable as I'd hoped.