Artie Lang: Jack and Coke
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Artie Lang: Jack and Coke

Blu-ray

DVD

In the sixties a certain type of records were all the rage; recordings of new comedian’s stand-up comedy routines. They were standard fair at cocktail parties and largely because of the off-color language and mature subject matter kids could snicker and laugh at an adult telling what amounted to dirty jokes. There has always been a place for the inclusion of less than polite language in comedy. The late but always great George Carlin was well known for his seven forbidden words but his use of impolite words was an intelligently crafted playful romp through our language. Unfortunately comedians like him are exceedingly rare. The latest DVD featuring a comedian is admittedly not in this exalted level. ‘Artie Lang: Jack and Coke’ is basically an hour and a half of humor that is rude, crude and socially unacceptable. In every grade school throughout history there has always been one kid who received the attention he so desperately sought by telling immature jokes with sexual or scatological themes. Most of these boys grow out of this phase and move on with their lives. Artie Lang not only remained at that emotionally stunted phase he extended it to become the basis of his entire career. This is not intended to be an entirely negative comment. Sometimes the best way to forget the financial and personal adult trials and tribulations is to allow you inner child a chance to surface reveling in the crudeness of the old school yard. I have to admit that while watching this disc I found myself laughing out loud. It’s not that I really wanted to but it’s been a bad year and my inner grade school kid needed an airing. If you are in need of liberation from polite society than this DVD will suite you very well. Just make sure the children are visiting Grandma and none of you easily offended friends are in attendance.

Having lived most of my life in New York City I must have walked past the venue for this performance dozens of times. It is now known as the famous ‘Gotham Comedy Club’ and although this club opened after my time I did frequent many such places in my time. The Gotham is much more upscale than the little dives I used to frequent in my younger days. This type of club is exactly the right place to display an edgy comedy act. The act is presented on both regular DVD and Blu-ray. I did try to emulate the audio characteristics by setting the receiver to the acoustics of a small club and found myself transported back in time. Lange grew-up in New Jersey so many of his bits are geared toward this location. Lange does a number on the N.Y. Giants had how he could relate to the numerous drug problem many of the players have. To Lange the only difference between him and a star player is the get better drugs and has sex with super models while Lange got his drugs from the street and pays for cheap hookers. This is one of the defining characteristics of his act; his ability to take self deprecating humor to a completely new level.

Lang has had a rather long if uneven career. He does openly admits that most of the times his career has fallen off track was his own fault usually involving his perchance for not knowing where the limits for good tastes lies and decades of abusing alcohol and most psychotropic substances. He is quiet open about his weight problem and use of cocaine, pot and heroin. Lange pounders how he was able to be so over weight while doing as much coke as he did. Every personal shortcoming, foible and failure in Lang’s life makes it into his act. He talks about highly public romantic failures and the near constant presentation of his public mishaps on You Tube. A large part of his act is Lange talking about having sex and getting high or looking for a way to have sex and get high. He has made great progress in cleaning up his life so the humor has the perspective of what a wild stoner he was. He has a dark, depressed view of life. He sees the glass half full but it contains a lethal substance. Part of his act looks at things such the last kid to finish a race in the Special Olympics pushing it with conjecture as to betting on those events. Basically there are not many groups not subject to offensive jokes here. Most people know Lang as one of the Whack pack on the Howard Stern radio show. He did have a stint with toned down humor on the long running sketch comedy show ‘Mad TV’. This routine is funny if you can shut off that socially acceptable portion of your brain. Yes, the jokes and stories go beyond the obscene but like those carefree days at recess you will find yourself unable to control you laughter. I only had the DVD to review so I can’t address the quality of the Blu-ray. This disc was well mastered with crisp video and a passable Dolby Stereo soundtrack. There is some bonus material included but for fans of Lange this is a must have.

Posted 01/24/2010

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