HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Brian Regan: Live From Radio City Music Hall
HTS Overall Score:65
Brian Regan has been off the standup comedy act for QUITE a while. I believe his last stand up album was actually 8 years ago in 2008 with “Epitome of Hyperbole”. I remember him being a hysterically funny comedian who uses observational humor at its finest to poke fun of everything and everyone in all of their ridiculous idiosyncrasies. What made Brian so unique in the comedy world was the fact that he was a relatively CLEAN comedian, forgoing the standard gross out gags and the endless stream of profanity that accompanies so many others in his line of work. That’s not to say that he’s 100% child friendly, but his lack of swearing and fairly clean humor made it so that a lot greater audience would be open to his work rather than just those who are more comfortable with the profane.
Brian, for all his fantastic quips and tropes tends to rely on gimmicky stage acts to add to the humor of his shows and “Live from Radio City Music Hall” makes it blatantly obvious that those gimmicks are here to stay, for better or for worse. Regan uses a variety of silly voices and over exaggerated comic actions through physicality to emphasize and punctuate his jokes on stage. A shtick that was one hysterically funny, but once seen a few times seems to lose its charm. If comparing to his 2008 special or even his early 2000 work it seems much more trite and certainly seems to have been over used in his act. The “All By Myself” album he released several years ago was a lot funnier due to not being in a standup act and having to rely on the humor of his voice rather than physicality.
That’s not to say that the show is some unfunny train wreck of a show. It’s funny all right, just sadly not WILDLY funny. When Brian is on top of his game and nailing the jokes I was laughing out loud, but there were large portions of the show where there just wasn’t anything funny being said on stage. I chuckled here and there, then would just sit around waiting for the next laugh. Sometimes that laugh would be a chuckle and other times I was dying on the floor, such as his routine on over eating, or family issues.
This is an argument that has brought up by several people I’ve discussed with but I’m wondering if his recent divorce in 2011 had anything to do with the decline in humor. The same thing happened with Jeff Dunham who was HYSTERICALLY funny up until his wife left him. Then the next standup act was dark and bitter, full of mean humor and sometimes just a LACK of humor. Jeff has since worked his way back up the funny ladder after another marriage where his good cheer is back, but it’s not out of the question here to surmise that something similar might be happening under the surface. Familial strife like that can lead to depression and all sorts of creative dead ends. While “Life From Radio City Music Hall” isn’t his best show to date, I really wish the best to the funny “clean” comedian and hope that he can pull himself out of the creative doldrums and get back to nailing it like he used to.
Not Rated by the MPAA
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=65234[/img]The 1.78:1 MPEG2 DVD is a really nice looking show for a standup comedic act and while it certainly isn’t a CGI and special effects mother load, there is just a crispness and simpleness to the basic looking set. Blacks are deep and inky, and while there is some crush in the audience due to the lighting trying to focus on Brian instead of them, there’s still plenty of faces to pick out of the crowd. The stage is excellently lit, with a deep purple backdrop and lighting that doesn’t reflect and glare off into the camera like so many other standup shows do. While I would say that fine detail isn’t the PURPOSE of the film, there is plenty of pleasing detail on the stage and audience combined with a nice lack of compression artifacting (kind of almost a now brainer with less than an hour of content on the disc).
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=65242[/img]This is a standup comedy show with a Dolby Digital 2.0 track and that comes with all of the issues and benefits that this type of track entails. The vocals are really the main focus here, and there isn’t a wide array of surrounds to immerse the listener in. Brian’s voice is always legible and perfectly replicated on stage at all time, and I really have nothing negative to say about it. You can hear the audience chuckling in the front two speakers and they’re well balanced with the entertainer’s voice level. It’s really a functional track without any trappings or extra bells and whistles. You hear his voice and that’s really all that the track is meant to convey.
“Brian Regan: Live from Radio City Music Hall” is sadly not the best of the Brian Regan I know. I’ve watched his live shows from back in the early 2000 era many a time and that guy was able to light up an audience like no other. Sadly his comedy routine seems to be stretched thin and he’s reaching for new material to fill up the time, but the audience really isn’t biting. He can go for long periods of time in the routine with only a bit of mild laughter punctuating his jokes. It’s not a BAD show, as I certainly laughed out loud several times, but it’s far from the days where I was dying laughing at his shows from beginning to end. Still worth a rental if you’re a fan of the Regan.
Starring: Brian Regan
Directed By: Brian Regan
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 2.0
Runtime: 57 Minutes
DVD Release Date: February 16nd, 2016
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