Posted in: Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 19th, 2011
When I first started watching the new comedy concert by Kathleen Madigan, I grew somewhat fearful. She was introduced by Lewis Black, who appears to be one of her closest friends. That scared me more than a little. Lewis Black is nothing but an angry old man who preaches tolerance of anyone who agrees with him. If you don’t agree with him, you are subject to the most venomous of attacks of hatred I’ve ever seen from a stand-up. If Kathleen Madigan was going to be a female Lewis Black, this was going to be a long hour, indeed.
I was pleasantly surprised. I suppose I shouldn’t have been. It seems the lady has been around the block for over 20 years. Somehow her name has escaped my particular notice. If I had been familiar with her work, I would have known that she doesn’t roll anything like Lewis Black. Darth Vader, he rolls more like Lewis Black. Check that. Vader did have a couple of lucid moments where he wasn’t pure evil. No one rolls like Lewis Black.
Madigan is actually quite tame by stand-up standards. I’m wondering if someone superglued her feet to a spot on the stage, because I don’t think she so much as shuffled them once. Lewis, did you do something naughty to Kathleen’s feet? She pretty much remains in place. Her demeanor is always pleasant. She didn’t appear to have to scream to get her point across. She does fling a good share of insults, but I’m happy to report she hurls those at folks from both side of the political fence. She’ll make fun of Sarah Palin, but she’s honestly harder on Oprah. She’s obviously in the tank for Obama, but doesn’t feel the need to beat the crap out of W to express her opinions on Obama. She’s even quick to point out that he might not be everything she was hoping for. What’s most impressive is that she’s just as willing to poke a little fun at her own expense. Apparently, she’s a bit of a hypochondriac. She jokes that while she doesn’t usually make New Year’s resolutions, she’s decided to try one this year. She’s decided to stop self-diagnosing herself on Web MD. About the only negative thing I’d say is she looks quite tired during the performance.
Most of her comedy material is taken from her own family. Her parents are both huge mines for a lot of the material in her repertoire. She pokes fun at her Irish heritage and the common stereotypes of drinking and temper that go along with it. She doesn’t appear to have to drop F-bombs every other word. There’s not a lot of toilet humor here either. Come to think of it, what exactly does Lewis Black see in this lady, anyway? What you’ll see in her is a funny half hour that goes against the grain of what you’ve probably come to think of as stand-up.
The concert is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The 1080p image is arrived at with an AVC MPEG-4 codec at an average 25 mbps. Look. This is a comedy concert, so the high-definition image presentation isn’t going to be pushing any envelopes here. It’s a solid image with natural colors. It’s sharp, for the most part. The issue has more to do with some sequined top she’s wearing. The camera has a heck of a time focusing on the sparkles, so her midsection looks like it was blurred out. You know how they blur out shirt logos and such when they haven’t gotten clearance for the material? This is what it looks like when shot straight on. The effect isn’t so bad when we get a profile angle.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is there to deliver her jokes. There’s nothing more complicated than that going on here. It sounds fine.
All of the features are in high definition.
Interview: (3:41) This is like hanging out backstage for a couple of minutes. Madigan talks to Black about his opening performance. Black looks like he could care less about being there and talks about how little he wants to do on stage.
Behind The Scenes: (15:36) Madigan hangs out with her family. They all seem good-natured about her jokes. She also yucks it up with Lewis Black some more.
Madigan’s material might not be the funniest stuff I’ve ever heard, but there are some solid laughs to be found in the concert. Apparently Kathleen Madigan agrees. She does tend to laugh at her own jokes. I think she might have laughed more than the audience. I tend to dislike it when a comedian laughs at their own material. It’s like a musician who applauds after his own songs. It’s a bit too much of an ego trip. In Madigan’s case, it wasn’t too annoying. I think she genuinely couldn’t help herself. It doesn’t come across as calculated to remind the crowd that “these are the jokes, folks”. You can let the family sit in on this one, and that’s real comedy gold, if you ask me. The stuff’s harmless fun, and I’m afraid that’s rare in stand-up anymore. When was the last time you could watch a half hour on Comedy Central and not hear a bleep? The last time I watched that network I thought they were testing the Emergency Broadcast Network for the entire hour. Kathleen, thanks for surprising me. You know, “I can’t believe you’re still not hilarious.”