Starring: Paul Soter, Kevin Heffernan, Jay Chandrasekhar, Steve Lemme, Eric Stolhanske
Directed By: Jay Chandrasekhar
I’ve not seen all of their movies, but I love Broken Lizard. A big chunk of my admiration for these guys though is a big helping of benevolent envy. I mean who wouldn’t dig making a living hanging out with five of your best friends from college, making movies and making people laugh. Or at least usually making people laugh. To be brutally honest the quality of their material varies. Some of their stuff is laugh at loud even though your sitting at home all alone funny and some of it is not near that funny. Unfortunately this production from Comedy Central fails into the second category.
Broken Lizard is back on the road. Which is appropriate, according to Wikipedia Broken Lizard started out as a sketch comedy troupe at Colgate University. So a live show for these guys should be kind of like coming home. On top of that, looking at the list of extras on the DVD cover they’ve had several shows to get warmed up for this taping at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles. This is really looking like it’s going to be funny seventy eight minutes.
The show starts out with a voyeuristic look into the green room as the guys hype them selves up for the show and after a wholly inappropriate group prayer they are sending Steve Lemme out to the stage with a melodious send off. Lemme picks a topic that should be comedy gold as long as your willing to be share very intimate details with the audience. And Steve doesn’t hold back, I learned more about the nocturnal habits of Broken Lizard than I ever imagined I wanted to know. But, while Lemme’s set is raunchy and personal it’s flat.
Next up is Steve, Eric and Paul with Kevin in drag spoofing Susan Boyle and Britain’s Got Talent. Don’t worry if can’t remember Susan Boyle’s fifteen minutes of fame. Heffernan sells the joke well enough that you can pick up the context without having to know the backstory. Next up is Soter. His topic for he evening is standard stand up material, aging and relationships. Paul earns a few chuckles but like Steve most of his material falls flat.
Breaking things up a little bit, Heffernan and Lemme come back for a tribute to one of their favorite celebrities, Patrick Swayze, with an anecdote of the two of them bumping into Swayze at a clichéd party at a producer’s house in the Hollywood hills. This bit works, at this point I’m starting to see a pattern, when more than one of them is on stage, the show immediately gets better and funnier. Unfortunately Stolhanske comes on stage next and confirms the pattern.
I’ve got to admit by this point I’m a little disappointed, my boys are letting me down. Then it’s Jay’s turn. Instead of relying on embarrassing stories about themselves and the rest of the group Jay’s routine is a stream of consciousness riff on masculinity with a funny story about getting high with Willie Nelson. Heffernan is up next and after Jay totally ruins my theory about the ensemble bits being the funny parts and the solo bits not quite delivering. Kevin’s topic of conversation is the consequences of performing full frontal nudity and morphs into an explanation of the distinction between bears, otters and polar bears.
Broken Lizard wraps the show up with all five the guys onstage explaining how they all met. Which would have been interesting anyway, but they actually all met in pretty funny ways or managed at least to make it sound funny. And then it’s over. Even though only about half of the material presented here is funny the seventy eight minutes goes fast. It seemed like they were just getting warmed up and then they are taking bows and the titles are coming up.
The video is presented in wide screen format. It’s bright and crisp; the colors are nice and punchy. There was some slight aliasing but less than normal and I never noticed any other artifacts that would distract from the content. A note about one of the bonus features, On the Road with Broken Lizard the video quality is poor, but the content is some of the best material on the DVD so thank God they still put it on the DVD.
The audio is presented in your choice of Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound or Dolby Stereo. The audio is in English only with no subtitles. The sound is simply but effectively mixed. The audio is always distinct and clear.
The Packaging/Bonus Features
The DVD comes in an Eco-Box which is a standard Amaray style case with some of the non essential plastic removed. The artwork is simple and effective and is carried over to the equally simple DVD menus. There is not a plethora of bonus materials but the quality of what they included is great. The extra Super Troopers sketch is funny and the On the Road with Broken Lizard like I mentioned earlier contains some of the best stuff on the DVD. Wrapping up the bonus features are an extended intro for the show and some outtakes.
Overall (Not an Average): 6/10
Ultimately this is a disappointing DVD, I know these guys are funnier than this. The frustrating thing is they prove it in the bonus materials. I wonder at the thought process that went into picking the material they performed at the El Rey Theater.
The Movie: 5/10
The Video: 7/10
The Audio: 7/10
The Packaging/Bonus Features: 8/10
Overall (Not and Average) 6/10