RICKY GERVAIS: OUT OF ENGLAND 2 & DENNIS MILLER: THE BIG SPEECH HBO Comedy SpecialsDecember 31, 2010

RICKY GERVAIS: OUT OF ENGLAND 2 & DENNIS MILLER: THE BIG SPEECH HBO Comedy Specials

HBO

On Demand Weekly provides new reviews of TV specials and hot movies on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: RICKY GERVAIS: OUT OF ENGLAND 2 & DENNIS MILLER: THE BIG SPEECH (HBO).
By John Werner

 

Ricky Gervais is so likable that he can get away with anything. No doubt, he will make you laugh, even when he is mean, condescending and arrogant. Ricky Gervais could shake your hand, stab you in the back and have you giggling the entire time. It could be his great smile, his occasional self-deprecating joke or maybe it’s just that he’s an amazing comedy writer.
 
Ricky Gervais (HBO)
Ricky Gervais (HBO)
 
In his second HBO comedy special, RICKY GERVAIS: OUT OF ENGLAND 2, Gervais is original, even brilliant at times. His delivery and timing are damned good, too. He lets his stories play out, never rushing a punch line, forcing you to engage your brain.
 
In the middle of a great story he’ll drop a totally sick punch line that will make you squirm while you laugh. If you do get offended then you’ve missed the point. A point Gervais makes during the show. He tells the audience his purpose is not to offend, and though he does he’s never going to apologize for it.
 
Ricky Gervais (HBO)
Ricky Gervais (HBO)
 
He’s never going to do anything ordinary or, as he puts it, "anodyne. Gervais gets a rousing applause when he blurts out that there’s nothing you shouldn’t joke about. He means it. Nothing is off limits – fat people, homosexuality, God, incest, even rape. But none of it comes off as abrasive, though it may offend some people, (certainly not me).
 
Gervais’s stage presence is charming. Whether he is simply strolling to the podium to sip on his ubiquitous can of Fosters or pantomiming a spider, he’s fun to watch. When he reinterprets a Sunday school book about the story of Noah that he learned as a child, we get that his no limits comedy writing is what has placed him at the top of the comedy heap.
 
In the hour and twenty minute show he references three books and uses a slide presentation narrated to hilarity.
 
Ricky Gervais is having a great time in his latest HBO special, OUT OF ENGLAND 2, and so will you.
 
DENNIS MILLER: THE BIG SPEECH...

 

It would be fair for me to start off by mentioning that Dennis Miller and I exist on opposite ends of the political spectrum. In his new HBO special, DENNIS MILLER: THE BIG SPEECH, the comedian claims to be socially liberal and politically conservative. The political jokes all come from the far right, which the audience seemed to enjoy. 

 

Dennis Miller (HBO)
Dennis Miller (HBO)

If I weren't so liberal I might have found them funnier. He busted more on Bill Clinton than Barack Obama which was odd to me. Clinton left office almost ten years ago and the jokes felt that old.

To be sure, Miller’s sardonic, derisive style is all there. His ability to turn a phrase and his great use of similes does bring some excellent humor to the special. The guy can write, no doubt. Maxims that included “fecal blizzards,” “incandescence fuscilli,” “wrangling growlers,” were some of my favorites.
 
The show gets off to a slow start and almost stalls when he tells a too long story about meeting Frank Sinatra. But things pick up about half way through when he starts in on global warming and the absurdity of being green. His attack on the Smart Car is visual and very clever. It made me think of George Carlin’s great classic riff on saving the planet.
 
Dennis Miller (HBO)
Dennis Miller (HBO)
 
From there he gets rolling with a fearless take on terrorism, radical Islam, Iran and the Middle East. This is where things got funny for me. Heck, I could almost see his point on a good deal of issues. However, I did cringe when he defended Glenn Beck.
 
THE BIG SPEECH is Dennis Miller’s eighth stand-up special for HBO and just because I didn’t agree with his point of view didn’t mean my liberal funny bone wasn’t tickled.
 

- John Werner

  John

John Werner is a screenwriter. He also directs, produces and edits documentaries and TV specials. You can find him at www.howlatthemoon.tv

 

OUT OF ENGLAND 2 and THE BIG SPEECH are available via HBO On Demand.

 

Check Out John Werner's Other Reviews:

NICE GUY JOHNNY

Bruce Springsteen: THE PROMISE

EASTBOUND & DOWN

I'M STILL HERE

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