Tool Time, the Born Suspect and the Joke Man
Zagnorch | Terra, Sol System | 08/10/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Fair warning: this movie, featuring twelve standup comedians (like duh, right?), was made `round 1988. Quite a bit of the comedy covers the last days of the Reagan administration, Iran-Contra, paranoia over AIDS, Bruce Springsteen, and other late-eighties concerns that are, needless to say, more than a bit dated nowadays. So if you're not too familiar with the era, you might not find the stuff contained within all that entertaining. On the upside, it does showcase a few future talents prior to their breakouts into superstardom, with Chris Rock and Tim Allen being the most recognizable of the bunch, as well as the tragically unrealized potential of Bill Hicks.
Out of the twelve standups that performed in this movie, there are four that I found the most notable.
- Chris Rock doing part of his "Born Suspect" act, just prior to joining 'Saturday Night Live'. His sexual fantasy about Aunt Jemima is one of his most twisted standup moments ever. His performance here is one of the first ever recorded on film, and dit isplays the spark of genius that would become a bit less mean-spirited, and more socially & politically focused in later years with "Bring The Pain", "Bigger and Blacker", and "Never Scared".
- Tim Allen and his "Men Are Pigs" riff, his most notable standup performance, telling all what it "truly" means to be a man, as well as manly. I found it the movie's best performance. This is the act that launched him to superstardom, and helped inspire the "Home Improvement" sitcom.
- The late Bill Hicks revealing which celebrity and/or politician is the true Anti-Christ. Although I didn't always find his act to be laugh-out-loud funny, he was fun to watch and listen to. His act was basically social critiques in the spirit of George Carlin, but less focused and quite a bit more mean spirited. And anyone who can beat out Carlin in the mean-spirited comedy department is someone to admire in my book. This film was my first exposure to Hicks, and since then I've taken a listen to his other works, all of which I found both profane and wonderful. I'm still surprised that I never knew about him before this, and have found myself somewhat saddened that he's no longer with us. It woulda been neat to hear what he'd hafta say about the present administration, that's for sure...
- Jackie "The Joke Man" Martling, firing off the filthiest jokes & riddles I've ever heard. Although he had a small share of infamy as the Howard Stern Radio Show's head writer at the time-a position he held until a few years ago-- this is one of his first performances to reach a big audience. I simultaneously loved AND hated watching him perform; it's like a train wreck. Not only does he throw the jokes out at an almost incomprehensible speed, he has a hell of a time trying not to laugh while telling his sick little stories. In some cases he's barely able to get the punch line out before guffawing. To summarize, he's got too much show to do, and not enough time to do it. It's both riotously funny and depressingly pathetic at the same time.
Other than these four, the only member of the remaining "dirty dozen" I'm able to sit through is John Fox. Like Jackie Martling, his act consists of quite a few riddle-type jokes. But at least the guy does his delivery at a normal speed...
UPDATE 7/25/2005: I just watched the "Heavyweights of Comedy" on the double-feature version of the "Comedy's Dirtiest Dozen" DVD, and... it really sucked eggs. It's just one lame fat joke after another, punctuated by other cr@ppy bits. Be sure to avoid it at all costs if you wish to maintain yer sanity.
Kevin L. Nenstiel | Kearney, Nebraska | 06/09/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The cover photo on this film prominently features Chris Rock and Tim Allen, two comics who went on to priminent stardom in the wake of this film. Are they typical of what you see in the film? Yes and no.Yes, they're generally funny, with a strong bitter edge and a forthrightness that is refreshing in light of the tiresom self-censorship of most modern comedy. No, you mostly haven't heard of them.Timm Allen and Chris Rock have both tamed their shows, moving into more social satire and less vulgarity. These early routines, as well as some rare footage of Bill Hicks, justify the cost of the film. However, many of the other performers haven't enjoyed their success. Stephanie Hodge, Monty Hoffman, and Thea Vidale have very limited acting credits, while Joey Gayno, Stephen Pearl, and Larry Scarano have no screen credits other than this one.Some artistic decisions in this film are hard to understand. Why are only two women represented, when most of us have known a lot of raunchy women? Why are only two black people represented? And why did they end with Jackie "the Joke Man" Martling, whose routine consists of him laughing at his own jokes? Surely there was someone stronger they could end on.The comics aren't equally funny. Otto Peterson and John Fox are downright feeble. But it's more funny than not, if you have the mindset for this kind of humor. Perhaps the highlight is the relentless pace and extreme mannerisms of Bill Hicks--fans of that artist should rush out and get this film right away just for his bit, as there is little enough film of his material to be found.Obviously, this film isn't for everyone. But if you enjoy raucous humor or love any of the individual stars, this film is enjoyable, if hard to find. Find it if you can, you won't regret it."
These Comedians Suck
Amy Webber | Boston, MA | 01/11/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I rented this DVD because I am a big Bill Hicks fan. I figured if hes on it, it can't be that bad. I watched the whole thing, and it was awful. Seeing Tim Allen was kind of fun, but the rest, besides Bill hicks where very bad. Seriously, if your a Bill Hicks fan interested in this DVD, don't bother he just does about 10-15 minutes of stand up. The only thing worse than "Comedy's Dirtiest Dozen" was the "Heavy Weights of Comedy" part. This was just some Obese men and women coming out and making fat jokes about themselves. This was awful, don't bother."
M. Howerton | APO, AE United States | 04/01/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is actually a great dvd. You actually get a chance to see some of out more famous comedians in action back when they were almost unknown. The highlight of this dvd, for me anyway and hopefully others, was that this is one of the very few chances you get to see the late, great Bill Hicks on camera. For fans of his cd's, it's worth the money just to see him on film. Definitely worth it."