Wheelchair Assassin | The Great Concavity | 06/16/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've been hoping to get my hands on a copy of "Bring The Pain" ever since college, when my friends and I would occasionally sit around getting drunk and listening to this performance on CD. Well, I finally have it, and even as a married man watching it sober in my apartment this DVD still cracks me up. Since this performance was recorded in the mid-'90's and it's now 2004 I was worried the material might seem dated, but Rock's insightful and colorful discussions of human failings are not only universal, but timeless. Much of what he discusses here may not be in the news anymore, but you could substitute any number of current happenings and his remarks would fit just as well. The man's animated style and frequent use of profanity are certanly entertaining, but beneath the shouted profanities is a razor-sharp wit backed by a lot of common sense and deep feel for irony. With his knack for cutting through rhetoric and hyprocrisy to get at the underlying truth, Rock could even be called one of America's leading black conservatives.Rock bursts out of the gate with a bitingly hilarious bit on Marion Barry, musing that Barry managed to get reelected as mayor of Washington after being convicted of behavior that would get you fired from McDonald's. Discussing a slightly more respectable figure in the form of Colin Powell, Rock highlights the low expectations whites hold for blacks by pointing out that an educated black general can be praised merely for speaking well. This being the mid-90's, there was the obligatory bit on O.J., but Rock manages to go deeper than most comics in analyzing what the case said about the nature of fame and America's racial divide. The real high point of the performance, though, is Chris's discussion of the divisions within black America itself, exemplified by the distinction he draws between black people and, well, a word I can't use on this site. At any rate, Rock's penetrating look at this country's black underclass and its pathologies is hilarious, thought-provoking, and deadly accurate at the same time.There a few more good bits here, including an off-color riff on platonic friendship, but it's Rock's look at racial issues that makes this DVD for me. He may occasionally drive home his points crudely, but Rock also advocates old-fashioned ideas like responsibility and self-respect which are all too lacking today, black or white. A true equal-opportunity offender, Rock deserves a shot from all thinking people."
The best stand-up routine of the 1990s
spriggan2 | 02/21/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Not being a fan of Chris Rock's brand of comedy, I initially watched this with an understandably less-than-enthusiastic attitude. However, after the first few minutes, I couldn't stop laughing at his annoyingly high-pitched and rough-sounding delivery, in addition to his raw and honest assessment of the world we live in today. He works the crowd like Eddie Murphy did in the early 80s, and hits on such controversial topics as O.J. Simpson, crack cocaine, religion, education, politics, and what has to be one of the funniest bits ever, capital punishment vs. the Tossed Salad Man. One word of warning, though: it's definitely raw, filled with every four-letter expletive in the dictionary spoken many times over, but if you can handle it, this is one of the most satisfyingly funny stand-up routines ever."
GREAT COMEDY !!
Tevonda Hayes | NEW YORK, NEW YORK United States | 10/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"WOW!!! I'd first seen this in 1996. I believe it to be the best work Rock has done in stand-up. It was innovative and extremely funny. It dealt with social/political issues of that time on a true, but intelligently approached level. I haven't seen anything funnier since. If you are a Chris Rock fan... then you will love this.."
Top class stand-up from a genius of his genre
Olukayode Balogun | Leeds, England | 07/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There was a time when it was considered too dangerous to teach a black man how to read. Fortunately, we've moved on somewhat since then but even now, a black man who is intelligent, well read and articulate can often be considered a challenging prospect even from within his own community and not just outside of it. Add humour to the mix though and that man is immediately seen as less of a threat. If he's wise he can use being seen as a funny man to have even more influence than a man who goes around straightfaced. A man with great comic timing and incisive wit can thus go on and spread his message with genius. That genius is the man known as Chris Rock.
I love black stand up as a whole but this dude is in a class of his own. By the time this 1996 performance was taped as an HBO special, he had honed his skill to perfection and ensured he would be known as more than the guy who got to play the butt of all the jokes in movies like "Boomerang", "CB4" and "New Jack City". No subject is sacred and no one is safe. Rock lays into Marion Barry (the former Mayor of Washington DC who was involved in a drug scandal and still managed to get re-elected. The show was taped at the Takoma Theatre in D.C. so the response of the audience was particularly interesting), O.J. Simpson, Colin Powell, and also talks about race relations, education, the crack epidemic, family values, sex & relationships and what he sees as the (still controversial) difference between `ni**as' and black people. Rock is totally irreverent, unrelenting and foul mouthed, while at the same time managing to remain intelligent, practical and sensitive with a central underlying moral core to his message. He may offend you but he'll make you laugh yourself silly while he's doing it AND make you think after he's done. Overall though, you know he's talking the truth and if that isn't genius then I don't know what is.
I first saw this on cable TV back in 2001 and nearly wet myself laughing. I got the DVD and watched it again a few months ago and even though I knew most of what was coming, I was still in hysterics. I can't wait to watch it again. The journalist, author and urban social commentator Nelson George interviews him for one of the extras, while the others are basically silly music videos starring Rock himself. I never saw any of these videos on MTV (they were probably too risqué anyway) and I don't recall any of the songs making it into the charts but they're still a hoot to see. All round great value for money. If you enjoy laughing and you haven't got this yet, you simply must.
The funniest stand-up release since "Delerious".
Tevonda Hayes | 08/17/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In your face social commentary that is embedded in such truth, one has to laugh simply because we are all familiar with the situations about which he jokes about."