I don't know how it took so long for us to get an hourlong stand-up special from Greg Giraldo, but my wait and yours has ended, as Giraldo's "Midlife Vices" makes its broadcast debut on Sunday, Aug. 16 (with repeats Aug. 17 and Sept. 1) on Comedy Central. I just watched the full 66-minute version (Comedy Central will edit about a third of it out to fit ads into its hour), and it's great stuff. At Comedy Central's celebrity roasts, comedians like to rib Giraldo for seemingly only getting work at the roasts, but watching "Midlife Vices," you'll discover why the cable network makes sure to save him a seat.
Said it before, but will repeat it here: Giraldo has a knack for blending serious political commentary with outrageous social material and finding the hard-hitting joke. Take this clip, in which he explains how quickly New York City bounced back after 9/11:
In anyone else's hands, a bit about our energy policy and dependancy upon corn and foreign oil might make audiences yawn or rile them up, but Giraldo heads south, literally, to Brazil for a funnier way to make the point. Sometimes vulgar, sometimes crass, but always on point. He'll explain why the drinking age should be 40 instead of 21 ("later on is when you need the chemicals!"), why people who say they're not racist are usually going to reveal how racist they are, why our children are fat and screwed up, and why our obsession with athletes is sometimes misplaced. Here's how he opens up a late bit on China: "Do we make anything in America besides porn and autistic kids?" Wow. This guy is loaded with zingers. An opening scene backstage shows Giraldo shuffling pages of yellow legal paper, trying to decide what jokes to tell and in what order. That bit is funny because it was true.
He's also willing to make fun of himself for his own peronal and professional foibles, whether it's getting divorced, quitting drinking, or where his career has taken him — the handicapped hotel room is his version of VIP? An escort has a business card and he doesn't? There's also a few minutes late in the special that likely won't air on Comedy Central, in which Giraldo points out a rasta man in the third row who had nodded off, and goes on a riff about a Jamaican boat ride.
You may also need to wait to buy the DVD to enjoy the end credits, in which Giraldo's manager reads an email he got at the end of the performance informing him of all of the profanities that would need to get bleeped out for Comedy Central. Then it'll only be 13 minutes, someone in the room jokes. You'll just have to tune in on Sunday and find out!