Day: September 28, 2008

Review: Chris Rock’s “Kill the Messenger”

Chris Rock’s new HBO special, Kill the Messenger, began with a bold statement, displaying the breadth of his popularity on his current stand-up comedy tour: 8 countries, 4 continents, 554,781 fans. Filmed in three venues — Johannesburg, South Africa; London, England; and New York City’s Apollo in Harlem — Rock is telling the world, and in turn, us viewers, that he is a global comedian. What he has to say about race and gender politics, as well as American politics, translates around the world. How many other American stand-up comedians can make that kind of claim? Doing so in black-tie (Johannesburg), a crisp monochromatic suit (London) and a shiny leather jacket (Harlem), Rock and his production team can show just how well it translates, as well have fun with comedy remixes, repeating phrases up to three times. I’m surprised they didn’t also try to capture some footage from Bonnaroo, where Rock performed for 65,000 music fans this summer in Tennessee, to show even more how broad his appeal has become. You can see this special again tonight and later on the various HBO channels (and predictably, someone already has uploaded it in eight parts onto YouTube). I had seen Rock officially debut this tour set 10 months ago in Las Vegas, as well as an early run-through of premises and ideas last summer in NYC. Much has changed in...

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SNL #34.3 with Anna Faris, Duffy

I wonder if the new m.o. at Saturday Night Live is reaching out to any and all past cast members whenever they fit the roles they’re looking for. Tina Fey returned again for another dead-on takedown of Sarah Palin, and also Chris Parnell returned to the fold for a sketch. Last year they invited Chevy Chase back to the Weekend Update desk. So who’s next? Mull it over as I begin my official recap…right after this apology to my Canadian friends for their inability to watch clips on Hulu. You can watch them on the NBC site, right? Alrighty then. Let’s recap! The cold open: Katie Couric’s interview with the Republican vice presidential nominee provided so much fodder for mockery that it almost seemed too easy, and yet so easy that if you’re running a timely comedy show, you have absolutely no choice but to joke, joke and joke some more. Tina Fey as Palin is almost too good, too, because it might make some dumb viewers convinced that they should vote for Palin just because of Fey — which, of course, completely misses the point of how completely overwhelmed the Alaska governor is trying to understand and grapple with the issues facing the Lower 48, as it were. Amy Poehler played the amazed Couric. They got in solid jokes about Palin mistaking more than 20 taxi drivers for...

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