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DVD Review: Comedy Central's Home Grown

Comedy Central's Home Grown is a sampling of television shows created for the Comedy Central network. The packaging and DVD menu are done in such a way to imply that you should really be stoned off your ass before watching these shows. After watching the samplings the disc had to offer, I can definitely see why.... because most of these shows are LAME! Being baked is the only possible way one could enjoy them. Okay, so lets break it down, shall we....

The first show I watched was an episode of The Sarah Silverman Program. In it, Sarah Silverman is prohibited from using the tennis courts of a club because she is not a member. As she's complaining about this to her friends, she claims that there's nothing worse than being Jewish. A black man overhears this, and it all eventually leads to Sarah Silverman trying to be a black person for a day by wearing black face. That's the plot. Unfortunately, I'm not sure where the comedy is supposed to be in that story. Is it when we see the back of her head as someone is supposedly making her up to be a black woman, only to reveal she is just in blackface? I guess that could be funny. What was funny is the two stoner guys she hangs around with. They get super high and act funny. I think the show would be better off if they dumped Sarah and made them the stars.... of course, then the show's name wouldn't make a whole lot of sense.

Next up was Comedy Central's TV Funhouse. Sometimes those TV Funhouse skits on Saturday Night Live are funny, so I was hoping for the best. What I got was probably one of the dumbest things I've ever seen. A guy who lives with a bunch of puppets or something tells them about Christmas cheer, how you feel it in your spine, so the puppets extract the cheer using a syringe, leaving the guy paralyzed, but still in good spirits. Then the puppets use a chemistry set that one of thier kids had to convert it into a powder... and then ingest it like it was cocaine. Partying ensues, and they all eventually learn a valuable lesson. The lesson I learned is that so far these Comedy Central shows seem like they're trying really hard to shock, instead of trying to be funny.

So next was Strangers With Candy. This is about a fourty-something year old ex-druggie runaway who has now returned to high school. The premise actually sounds like it would make a decent comedy, but the Jerri Blank character is just so damn annoying that I couldn't wait for the show to end. I'm stunned and amazed that somewhere, somehow, this actually got made into a feature film! How in the world could that possible happen?! There are so many great shows that get canceled way before their time, and yet this uber-crappy program not only lasts three seasons but also gets a feature film?! That's just really hard to stomach.

By this point, I was pretty much expecting nothing funny from this DVD. But then came Lewis Black's Root of all Evil. Although it wasn't anything great, compared to the other junk I watched so far, this was plenty entertaining. The setup is like a faux court, where they have one comedian argue that beer is the root of all evil and another comedian argue that weed is the root of all evil. Then Lewis Black comes in, ask some questions to each "lawyer", and renders his verdict. And while it's not as funny as a simple half-hour stand up special from just about any comedian I've ever seen on TV, it held my interested and made me chuckle a few times.

The last of the episodes concluded with Reno 911. This is a parody of the reality show COPS, where camera crews follow around police officers on patrol. There are some funny scenes scattered here and there, but typically there is no great and hilarious payoff for any of the setups. For instance, there is a long scene with one of the officers undercover going into a marijuana store and trying to get the clerk to sell her weed, but he acts stoned and doesn't get what she's trying to get him to do... it's easy to where this skit is going within the first five seconds, and yet it continues on for minutes. The small bits of funny stuff just aren't worth putting in the time.

In addition to full episodes, there are also some clips from some other episodes. The best of these is from Chapelle's Show. There was a Crank Yankers skit that was okay, but the Drawn Together skits and Viva Variety skits were extremely boring. And then there are some other... things, such as a faux documentary about spiders on drugs, and some documentary thing about weed. Surprisingly enough, the most entertaining thing on the entire DVD was a full episode of The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross. Holy crap is that guy talented! He has his paints and a canvas and like it was nothing he brushes on paints, explaining step-by-step what he's doing, and by the end he has a masterpiece. It makes you think that maybe you could do that... though I'm sure if I tried I would end up with just a big glob of brown paint spread over the whole canvas.

Alright, so overall I'd say this is a good sampling of Comedy Central-made shows... but unfortunately most of those shows totally suck.

Comedy Central's Home Grown comes to DVD on June 10th, 2008.

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