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Comedy CD/DVD Review: Chris D’Elia – ‘White Male, Black Comic’

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Comic Chris D’Elia’s December Comedy Central Stand-Up special, White Male, Black Comic, is now available as a CD/DVD combo, as well as a plethora of other formats. The combo is the extended, uncensored version of D’Elia’s one-hour show, taped in front of an enthusiastic live audience at The Civic Theatre in New Orleans.

2FF275C8E-CD47-A044-F8DABBED5DEBD043D’Elia has some truly funny material, but the warning that it is not suitable for children needs to be taken seriously. And while his treatment of blacks and gays is about as politically correct as anyone can expect from a comic these days, his treatment of women will probably raise some feminist hackles. The closing bit on what he calls the “creepy church” will no doubt have true believers, especially Catholics, fuming.

That said, like many comedians, D’Elia is most effective when you can see him at work, making the DVD especially welcome. He has the kind of supple face and body that can get him laughs even without words. He poses as a male peacock preening for the female. He poses as a figure on a stained-glass window, as well as a body builder showing his biceps. Add the words for some context and he can double the laughter, as when he succumbs to the attack of a super tampon.

His vocal impressions are often spot on and, more importantly, often hilarious. There is the drunken girl in the back seat of the car getting her sober date to order from a fast food drive-thru. There is the Asian girl trying to stifle her laughter, and the suave Brits working their magic on the ladies. There is a peek at the more innocent, buttoned-up courtship rituals of couples back in the ’40s.

He deals with many of the more important questions of the day. Why are there no bears eating at Applebees? Why is it that Brits walk around with wobbling heads? What does hating gays have to do with hating Butterfingers? How do you deal with a girl who wants to talk about a tree? These are questions for life, and D’Elia has the moxie to make the most of them.

Bonus material on the DVD includes his Comedy Central Presents episode and two episodes of Mash-Up. It gives viewers an opportunity to compare the comedian’s earlier work with what he’s doing now. Clearly his new stand-up is edgier, but the venue and the show’s midnight time slot may have something to do with that. He does seem to be more dynamic, and more in tune with the audience on his new work. He seems much more comfortable on stage. It is also interesting to see how some of the older material had been reworked and fine-tuned.

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