Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment Year: 2006 Rated: Not Rated Length: 80 minutes Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Languages: English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo Subtitles: None As a public speaking instructor who allows his students the option of doing a roast, I can write without hesitation that the roast is perhaps the most difficult genre speech to perform. That having been said, the old Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts managed to do it with a sense of class that, while being irreverent, managed to honor the “man of the hour.” These more recent roasts have been more focused on going for the cheap laugh, at the expense of homosexuals, or by appealing to the lowest-common denominator. At one point Kevin Pollack points out this trend, observing that the “pee-pee and ka-ka” jokes are very cute but prove how limited the comedians are. Pollack’s comment is well-stated; the majority of this roast of William Shatner, who should be an easy target for some of his work choices and horrible attempts at singing, is reliant on dick jokes, failing to make much of a punch. While it starts out hilarious, it quickly devolves into a lame, revolving one-up contest to push an envelope that doesn’t need to be pushed. The focus strays off Shatner to George Takai (hey, let’s find another way to say that Sulu and Kirk had relations) and the Farrah Fawcett (hety, let’s find another way to say that we masturbated to her as teenagers, but she now looks old). The only redeeming factors of this special are Betty White’s witty remarks, Jason Alexander’s clever introduction, and Pollack’s classy presentation. For the most part, I was left wondering why the majority of the comedians were even on stage; they seemed to know less about Shatner than I do, and I never even watched Star Trek. The humor on this special is hit-or-miss, and sadly more of the later than the former. The gallery wants to upstage the guest of honor, and in doing so they end up being coarse and generally unfunny. That’s not to say this is a bad special; it’s just not as good as it could have been if the jokes had climbed out of the toilet. Video: There is little I can say about the video transfer on this DVD set. Presented in its original 4:3 broadcast ratio the set looks slightly better than it did on television. Colors are full, the controlled lighting is bright and there is an almost surreal sharpness present. At best I can say the video quality does no distract from the content of this disc. Take that for what it is worth. Audio: Similarly the Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track is bright and clean, warmly representing the dialogue spoken directly into the microphones. The track doesn’t miss anything that is shouted from the periphery, either, no matter how little you may care what Andy Dick has to say. Extras: The set begins with forced trailers for other Comedy Central DVD products like the roast of Pam Anderson and South Park, among others. There are some Red Carpet interviews hosted (painfully) by someone named Jessie Kline, who attempts to try out her own roasting material to little success. Some of the comedians riff on Shatner before the event commences. The quality is poor, obviously shot guerilla-style. The behind-the-scenes rehearsal footage is genuinely funny, as we see people with their guards down, just having fun, getting ready and honing their material. The final segment is a bit that walks through the staging of Shatner’s entrance and how they got some of the special celebrity guests on stage. A quaint, if brief, bonus. Finally, there are three “Comedy Central Quickies” which are two-minute clips of The Colbert Report, Reno: 911, and Drawn Together. Funny stuff. Overall: There are a few funny moments on this set, but it quickly grows stale and routine. If you want to watch b-list comics and c-list celebrities go for the easy joke on a man who is an easy target, you’ll find a lot to love. I, however, was disappointed.