The Original Kings of Comedy
*** GM
Starring: Cedric The Entertainer, Steve Harvey, Bernie Mac, D.L. Hughley


CriminyPete Awards

Good Movie Archive

Bad Movie Archive

The eGroup

Message Board


I was completely prepared to rip this film apart since, judging from the quality of "The Steve Harvey Show" on The WPN and from the indifference I have toward "The Hughleys," these guys wouldn't even be allowed in the Original Castle of Comedy. Squires of Comedy, they'd be. Peasants of Comedy. To my surprise, though, these guys actually got me laughing - but I suspect it was more through delivery and energy rather than actual content. Although I do enjoy excessive profanity and the use of the word 'ass' to intensify nearly every adjective.

Steve Harvey - the host for the evening, and although he started things off by praising God, which is rarely a harbinger of good comedy, he had a great energy that keept the crowd up - although the crowd seemed REALLY ready to be up, up, up all the time anyway. His tributes to old school music were a little surprising in an MTV production like this, too.

D.L. Hughley - His act is at its best when he's mocking people in the audience or discussing shit. The rest of his act wasn't all that engaging.

Cedric The Entertainer - An enjoyable guy. A grown-ass man. If ever a black version of The Dukes of Hazzard were to be created, this man should play Boss Hogg. A very understated, low-key style that worked well... which was a little frustrating, because I had already had a lot of barbs prepared to levy at him and his potentially pretentious name... but he did succeed in Entertaining me, so I have to shut up about that.

Bernie Mac - this guy is ALL delivery, ALL energy, because he made child abuse sound funny. The majority of his act was about how much he beats the shit out of kids, and I laughed.

I watched an assload of stand-up comedy in my youth, so I've come to understand that material doesn't have to be funny on its own, because delivery is what it's all about. Guys like Norm MacDonald and David Letterman are two of my heroes, and they've made careers out of taking marginally funny things and adding their own unique style to them and turning them into comedy gold. These new Kings manage this feat as well, in the same way the overwhelming spirit, energy and joy in black churches will often make lame agnostic honkys like me want to believe in what they're saying. The give-and-take with the heavily involved audience, the incredibly good time they all seem to be having on screen makes the viewers want to be a part of it too - so much so that it's easy to let critical thinking go by the wayside and just laugh along with them. That's what good performers can do.

A problem that wasn't too prominent but big enough to mention is the fact that you could always notice when Spike Lee was trying to make his presence felt, with strange shots and angles that didn't really add to the performances at all. The best thing you can do with these guys is let them go and make sure you've got closeups at the right time and the correct angles to catch the faces being made. Panning up at awkward angles all the time just so you can get their faces in the same frame as the big "Kings of Comedy" sign isn't that important. It's a vaguely neat shot, but wait until they're waving out or something, won't you? Stop distracting from the flow of their act and taking everyone out of the moment.

Back to CriminyPete.Com Knee Jerk Spoilers