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Bert Kreischer: Comfortably Dumb
Bert Kreischer is a sort of lovable goofy everyman, not afraid to flaunt his less than sleek physique, not to mention his penchant for saying and doing stupid things. Comfortably Dumb doesn't really break any new ground, comedically speaking, but it provides a nice showcase for a comic who may not be as well known as some other regulars working the Comedy Central circuit.
Kreischer plays an hour and fifteen minute or so set before an Orange County audience that seems largely very receptive to his humor. The topics are almost like a laundry list of comedy setup stereotypes--we get a running series of racial group gags, including blacks and Asians. There's the typical war between the sexes stuff, here, too, with one of Kreischer's best punchlines, after he announces that nine words--"You were right. I was wrong. I love you. Honey, you win."--will quickly put an end to any argument. Let's just say that Bert doesn't really end the argument there.
If some of this material is pretty pat, if at times also fairly risqué, Kreischer does some outstanding work building routines out of his personal reminiscences. A little subset on drug use becomes hysterically funny when Kreischer remembers his youthful days of dropping acid and then visiting Disney World with two of his buddies. You will never think of Peter Pan's ride the same again. Another anecdote from much later in his life, featuring funny man and comedy mentor Jay Mohr, some weed, and a sprinting dwarf (don't ask), also is very funny.
Some of the best material, if a little hard to listen to, comes at the end of the set, when Kreischer talks about being in the room with his wife when she gave birth to one of his daughters. For all you guys who have been through this experience, you know already that women can tend to lose control of some bodily functions, which Kreischer utilizes to hilarious effect.
Kreischer has a very amiable persona, giving off an aura of the sort of guy you'd want to hang out with and toss back a beer or two. A lot of his comedy comes from brief, off the cuff comments, rather than big setups with punchlines. As a result, there's sort of running roil of softer laughter throughout this piece, rather than big bursts of hilarity. Kreischer obviously has a great rapport with the audience, and interacts with them regularly throughout the hour.
If Mohr is guiding Kreischer along the comedy route, my hunch is you'll be seeing a lot more of him in the future. I could even imagine Bert doing a family sitcom a la Everyone Loves Raymond quite easily. Comfortably Dumb shows the comedian off to good advantage, and is an enjoyable, if largely formulaic, hour-plus of laughs.
Comfortably Dumb is presented in an enhanced 1.78:1 transfer that is nicely sharp, with excellent color and contrast. There's simply not a ton to look at here, with 99% of the piece being Kreischer traipsing across the stage, and the other 1% being short reaction shots of the audience.
Both a DD 2.0 and 5.1 mix are offered. The 5.1 is more than a bit of overkill. There's nothing here other than Kreischer talking and the audience laughing. Either of these soundtracks will do fine for you--they're both very sharp and listenable.
An enjoyable 10 minute extra built around the running gag of "Bert Kreischer is a terrible...." (fill in the blank) has some fun stuff, capped by an awesome old home movie of Kreischer as a slim, shirt and tie teen in school doing a debate cum comedy routine on Pakistan getting nuclear weapons. Bert, buddy, you've let yourself go.
Kreischer has a very appealing stage presence, which overcomes some of the pat nature of some of his comedy. Comfortably Dumb has some great gags interspersed with more tame material, and if you can't catch it on cable, it's certainly worth an evening's rental. Rent it.
"G-d made stars galore" & "Hey, what kind of a crappy fortune is this?" ZMK, modern prophet