It’s a No Punchline Christmas DVD Blowout!!
If that headline doesn’t convince you that my greatest skill is not in my comedy but in my self-promotion, then nothing will. But nonetheless, a Christmas DVD Blowout I promised, and a Christmas DVD Blowout I shall deliver. And by deliver, I mean farm out to man who knows more about comedy than I could ever possibly hope to.
Yup, Matthew Collins of BBCs Great Unanswered Questions has graciously agreed to do a write up of some of this years Stand-Up DVD releases, a task I considered myself unable to do (and by unable to do, I mean unwilling to do, for fear I might let slip all my horrible comedy preferences in a review of Jim Davidsons “Bulging Package” boxset). So without further ado, over to Mattie for his rundown of all the best discs to distract you this year from your God awful homelife, while grinding into your brain the realisation that the man onscreen is performing to a capability that, aspire to it as much as you can, you will never achieve. Enjoy!
I’ve been good to myself this year. A winter birthday that coincides with the release dates of the years stock of standup comedy DVDs in time for the Christmas season proves very convenient for me and I tend to crack out the credit card and load up the Amazon website with plans to treat myself. What’s that Amazon? You have recommendations for me? Customers who bought this also bought this you say? These items are frequently bought together? Don’t mind if I do. It’s my birthday after all, and sure it’ll be Christmas before I know it. I have a tendency to over spend. There’s large pile of DVDs sitting in front of the TV, still in their cellophane wrappers, not because I can’t get them open (though that can be quite the challenge), but because I just haven’t had the time to sit down and watch them all. A monumental time commitment at the best of times, but one I’m really looking forward to as I take some time off now over the next few weeks for the Christmas. Time to curl up on the sofa, shut out the cold outside and laugh my little socks off. Nothing beats the live stand up experience, but that being said, the DVD makes a decent attempt at it and you don’t have to brave the snow and ice and wind and other people. Oh and if you decide you need to go to the toilet in the middle of the guy on stages set, you wont be interrupting you. He wont mercilessly slag you as you get up to walk past him, just as he’s getting to his punchline. Hell, he’ll even stop and wait for you to come back (standing perfectly still) so you don’t miss anything. So Gerry has asked me to compile a little buying guide for you all. Those of you who aren’t quite so obsessive as I am and might actually exercise some choice when deciding which of this years bumper crop of comedy DVDs on offer to add to your collection, and not just buy them all. I’ve said it already, most of mine from this year are still wrapped in their cellophane, so I can’t offer you reviews, just recommendations, but you’ll take what you can get and be glad of it. There’s starving kids in Africa without broadband internet that can’t even get that.
Dara’s new DVD from the show he’s being touring this past year. Haven’t seen the DVD yet, but I saw the show live in Belfast and it is fantastic. All of Dara’s trademark charm and wit that we’ve come to know and love. That man is wasted behind a host desk on Mock the Week and this is where he really shines. For the nerds, there is a fantastic routine about Computer Games which I’m sure we can all relate to.
Again, saw this tour live last year and saw the new tour Nonsensory Overload a few weeks ago. Noble is one of my favourite comics and is a master of the surreal and unusual. He blends planned material with off the cuff audience banter seamlessly and is a joy to watch. The main show itself will always be great, but Nobles DVDs are always heavily packed with extras too, so well worth a look.
Stewart Lee is often described as a comedian’s comedian. Certainly not for everyone but I love his stuff. Clever and expertly constructed material, he’s a master of using tedious repetition to hilarious results. He takes the familiar patterns of the comedy we’re all familiar with and turns it on it’s head. Any comic who has become embroiled in the all to familiar “joke theft” / “arriving at the same idea independently” debate should have a look on Youtube for a clip from one of his earlier shows. (Stewart Lee – Joe Pasquale Joke http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YE9Kthyaco ). And if you are a fan, I can also heartily recommend his book “How I escaped my certain fate”, which is a book essentially consisting of the scripts from his 3 previous DVD shows, with annotations and side notes that give a real insight into his comic process. (Comedian’s comedian I told you :P)Fresh of his success from a number of recent appearances on Mock the Week where his one liners stole the show every time, Canadian comic Stewart Francis makes his DVD debut at long last. Brilliant jokes come thick and fast and the laughs per minute put us all to shame. Some may think that one liner acts don’t lend themselves to long extended sets, but Stewart shows that it can be done and done incredibly well.Kevin Bridges puts us all to shame. This bastard is only 23 and after a stellar performance on the McIntyre Comedy Roadshow has gone on to sell out huge tours and deservedly so. But I’m still jealous :p He’s probably 24 by now, but he was 23 when the DVD was recorded last year and here it is out now in time for Christmas stockings (which he probably still leaves out for Santa). Seriously though Kevin is an excellent comic and if he’s showing such great promise at this young age he can only get better and is one to watch.Tim Minchin is one of my all time favourite musical comedy acts. I bought the DVD for the Australian leg of this tour last year direct from the website and had it shipped over. This is the London leg a year later and yet I’ve bought it again, this time on shiny, shiny Blu-Ray. The songs will be the same, but there’s some different bits of straight stand-up in between and also this version of the show comes packed with extras that my original Australian copy didn’t have. I’ve been a fan of Bill Bailey for years. Multi-instrumental musical comedy long before I’d even heard of Tim Minchin and his grand piano. Part Troll was his classic DVD that no self respecting fan should be without, but he’s had loads. This one Dandelion Mind was recorded in our own Dublin’s fair city in the O2 arena. I have no idea what’s on it as it’s one of many that I still have yet to watch, but Bill never fails to amuse to well worth a look.I haven’t actually bought this one, but that’s because it’s a compilation DVD. It’s 100 minutes of the best bits of his previous 3 DVD releases (Monster, Like Totally and What it is). I have all of these, so this DVD is of little use to me, but Dylan is amazing and if you don’t have his previous work in your collection then this will be the perfect introduction.
And that should do it. There are others, but sure I’m sure Amazon will be able to point you in the right direction. “Customers who bought this also bought this. One customer in particular bought them all. Crazy hairy bastard. Musta been planning to write a review or something.”
So with great thanks to Mattie, I’ll let you guys get buying. There was probably some way I could have included links to Amazon in such a way as to get paid for everyone that bought a DVD after clicking from this link, but what can I say; I’m in this for the laughs, not the money! Please note; I am somewhat in this for the money, and simply lack the computer know-how.