I’ve long held the somewhat chauvinistic belief that female stand up comedians are simply not funny. I’ve given people like Ellen DeGeneres, Paula Poundstone and Margaret Cho as much unbiased time as I can give, and I just don’t laugh at them. Their sense of humor is softer than any comparable male comedians, and is far more subtle. Does that make me a cro-magnon male with a large forehead? Probably.
To her credit, Whoopi Goldberg is the closest thing there is to an exception to the rule,…if for nothing else because of the edge that she possesses the other comediennes don’t. She created characters that allowed her the chance to free up any feminine hesitation or subtlety, which allowed her to talk like one of the boys. And what it also did in the process was very quietly discredit any preconceived notions behind class, color or gender, as it showed them from Goldberg’s point of view.
Did I laugh at Goldberg’s stand up or monologues? Not really, but I did give a little more respect to her for what she does and how she does it. In 1985, her one woman Broadway show was so well received that Goldberg won a Grammy for the performance, and early in 2005, she returned for an extended performance that doubled as a bit of a reunion, along with an excuse to satirize more of the current political and social scenes. HBO has included both performances on separate discs and released it to the masses. So how does it look?
The original performance comes on with full screen viewing that’s fun for boys and girls. The picture is pretty clear, but the transfer definitely shows the age of the production, back when videotape was chic.
Both discs sport Dolby Digital 2 channel sound mixes. As everything is coming at you from the center or front speakers anyway, there’s very little in the way of sonic challenge when watching either disc. Spoken word performances are usually that way, so you get what you pay for.
Disc 1 is the only disc that holds any special features, starting with some bloopers from her as she promoted her 2005 special, all 30 seconds or so. Next is a segment called “Whoopi on Whoopi”, which is the extended promo for her special. The last segment is called “In the Can With Whoopi”, which is her being interviewed from the toilet, discussing her special.
Well, the first performance isn’t too bad, but the second is a little lazier and a lot more predictable, “Bush is evil” and all that stuff. So let someone else enjoy it, I sure didn’t. Having said that, for those aspiring female comics in the house, you should definitely study up on her and how she does things.
Special Features List
- Bonus Performance
- Interview Footage