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HTF Review: Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by JustinCleveland, Mar 9, 2007.

  1. JustinCleveland

    JustinCleveland Cinematographer

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    [​IMG]

    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.
     
  2. Scott D S

    Scott D S Supporting Actor

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    I think I read somewhere that some music had been changed for the DVD release. Is the montage of Shatner's "musical" performances intact? I thought it was one of the funniest bits on the show.
     
  3. Demis G

    Demis G Second Unit

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    I'll buy this for Betty White being in it !
     
  4. Adam Gregorich

    Owner

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    You can enter to win a copy. Click here to enter. I am holding the contest copy in my hands, and it does say on the back "Music and content have been changed for this DVD from the broadcast version". I can't say what those musical changes were. Let's face it if you win and I already opened it you would be upset with me....[​IMG]
     
  5. JustinCleveland

    JustinCleveland Cinematographer

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    Fortunately the musical performances, while brief, are included. But again you can download a lot of this on the Internet and it is even funnier in long form.
     
  6. Bill>Moore

    Bill>Moore Second Unit

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    This was mostly a dud when I watched it on Comedy Central. The review is pretty much dead on. Many of the comedians didn't really know Shatner at all and the "Sulu is gay!" jokes got old pretty quick. You could really boil the whole thing down to maybe 10 minutes of amusing stuff and toss the rest right out.
     
  7. Mike Williams

    Mike Williams Screenwriter

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    I really enjoyed this on Comedy Central and I enjoyed it last night again on DVD. I DO wish that there were more people that actually knew Shatner and whom Shatner knew. A lot of people in the audience are actual friends and/or co-workers while the same no-name recycled Comedy Central gang have the honor of roasting him. In the audience were Carrie Fisher, David Carradine, Adrian Zmed (T. J. Hooker), Rene Auberjonois and Mark Bradley from Boston Legal, Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager) Brent Spiner (Next Generation).

    The part I found interesting and very disappointing is the phone call between Shatner and Nimoy at the beginning of the program did not make it to the DVD. I wonder why. That was a great bit.
     
  8. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    Too bad -- that was awesome. Maybe Nimoy wanted a lot of money or something.

    I dunno, as far as potty humor goes, this show really made me laugh when I saw it on TV. [​IMG]
     
  9. paul_austin

    paul_austin Second Unit

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    the missing music as far as i can tell so far is the great TOS background music used during Andy Dicks routine.....very sad as it really made his bit funny. there might be more that i've missed
     
  10. Jay Pennington

    Jay Pennington Screenwriter

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    Were any of the presentations extended for the DVD? As aired, Kevin Pollack had less than a minute and Nichelle Nichols about ten seconds. Too bad they chose to chop those down in favor of Comedy Central's current troupe of unfunny blowhards.
     
  11. Firebee

    Firebee Supporting Actor

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    Jay, I couldn't agree with you more...I'm a huge Shatner fan, and no, I've not collected every one of his movies, tho I do have ``Kingdom of the Spiders''...and I have TOS on DVD. I watched the first half hour of this and it was brutal, Jason Alexander was somewhat funny, but Comedy Central should've been shot for some of the morons they brought on to ``roast'' Shatner. I bought this on a lark, and frankly, I'm sorry I did.
     
  12. Gregory V

    Gregory V Stunt Coordinator

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    This was a blind buy, and I dont usually offer too much in the way of a review in my posts, but this is one long, raunchy, tasteless, totally meanspirited pile of garbage. It was an insult to everyone involved. This piece of trash in no way resembles the funny roasts Dean Martin used to preside over. I cant believe a class act like Betty White had anything to do with this. George Takei's piece was totally embarrassing. The whole thing was extremely vulgar (and I have a pretty bizarre sense of humor). There was much talk about masturbation especially directed toward Farrah Fawcett. DO NOT LET YOUR KIDS WATCH THIS!!!! Very disappointing all the way around. I will be filing this DVD in the trash can. Thankfully I bought it with coupons and it didn't cost me any real cash.
     
  13. Ocean Phoenix

    Ocean Phoenix Supporting Actor

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    Yeah, I caught some of this on TV and I agree it was pretty stupid and pointless. I am not at all sensitive about profanity, I love a lot of music that is full of profanity and some of my favourite movies are profanity-fests like "Scarface" and "Glengarry Glen Ross", but the profanity on this show really irritated me. Seeing people in their 60s and 70s laughing at and making weak sexual jokes full of swear words just seemed really forced to me, and a very lame attempt to sound "hip". There are just some people you don't ever need to hear swearing, not even for the "novelty" of it, and that includes William Shatner.
     
  14. paul_austin

    paul_austin Second Unit

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    lol well old people can swear too ya know. I loved it and will continue to defend it, (the trek boards didnt seem to get it). While I too loved the Dean Martin roasts, they were completely faked, no audience and canned laughter. I'll take raunchy jokes and real audience responses over something phoney any day.
     
  15. Jay Pennington

    Jay Pennington Screenwriter

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    Raunchiness doesn't bother me. It's the fact that most of the presenters barely even knew who Shatner was. A proper roast should be conducted by people who know and/or have worked with the guest of honor.
     
  16. Gregory V

    Gregory V Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm not particularly offended by raunchiness. One of my favorite shows of late is South Park. Others are Married: With Children and Family Guy, so I am not annoyed by off color humor. But at least that's funny. This stink fest was a whole different ball of wax. I found myself with my mouth open thinking "they didnt say what I thought they said". All the masturbation talk was just embarrassing. The lady I live with isn't exactly a prude and she didn't like it either. I agree, most of them didnt even know Shatner. Hell I hadn't even HEARD of most of the roasters.
     
  17. Firebee

    Firebee Supporting Actor

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    I agree, raunchiness doesn't bother me...since I'm a huge fan of ``Family Guy,'' but aside from Nichelle Nichols and George Takei...they had no one who really KNEW Shatner and could score meaningful and funny zingers at his expense. If this is what a roast is from now on, I'll pass. I'm a big fan of Shatner, but not so blind that I couldn't appreciate fun being made at his expense. This ``roast'' isn't going to provide that...I'd suggest Googling ``William Shatner'' on the video side of the Google search engine and check out some of the blooper clips on YouTube. Now, those are funny!
     
  18. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    I've attended enough LIVE roasts to know what a "celebrity" roast SHOULD be like. Clever humour, lots of friendly ribbing and general fun.

    I've seen a little of this, and I gotta say I was disgusted. I have no problem with raunchy humour, when it's applicable and GOOD. This was just raunch for the sake of raunch, and it was embarrassing and just plain cheap/crappy.

    Why the hell they would have a bunch of b-list comedians "roasting" someone they don't PERSONALLY know, I have no idea. (..and I'm sorry, but Andy Dick shouldn't be allowed on television anymore...)

    This was just cheap, lousy crap...
     

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