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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Janeane Garofalo: If You Will

October 6th, 2010

Janeane Garofalo: If You Will - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

Janeane Garofalo started out as a stand-up comic, but it has been a while since she's released a stand-up concert DVD. In fact, the only other stand-up concert release Amazon.com has listed is a VHS tape from 1996. Wow. I guess if you are a fan, it's been a long wait.

The Movie

Most people who know Janeane Garofalo probably know her by her politics, which are left-leaning. If you are worried that this hour-long program will be nothing but wall-to-wall bashing the current crop of Republicans, that's not an issue. Or, if you were hoping for nothing but that, you might be disappointed. There are some politics, but it is mostly about ... her, actually. Aging, how people describe her, her total lack of interest in sex, being a neo-Luddite, being an Atheist, etc. Self-deprecating for sure, but there's something almost egotistical in the way she spends so much time making fun of herself.

She does touch on some political subjects, like the uselessness of some homeland security, talking about the tea party, Glen Beck. She talks about some pop culture, she is apparently a fan of Natalie Portman, for instance.

Her delivery style is both sharp and all over the place. She brings a notebook with her on stage to keep track of the subjects she wants to speak on, but she quickly goes off track on short jokes. However, this is not a problem, as many of these bring the best jokes.

The Extras

I only have the DVD, which has two extra. The first is on the dangers of accepting gifts from fans. While the second is a political satire bit of a congressman doing an ambush interview of Janeane Garofalo and the result.

Apparently the Blu-ray has no additional extras, but it also only costs about 10% more, so it is clearly the better deal.

The Verdict

I remember in 2003, during the build up to the Iraq war, Janeane Garofalo was on TV, on a legitimate news show, arguing that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. Around the same time, Jon Stewart was interviewing the former head of the UN inspection team that was in Iraq and he was saying the same thing. The real news was interviewing an entertainer, while the fake news was reviewing an expert. It's sad when satire does a better job than the real thing.

Anyhoo, Janeane Garofalo: If You Will has plenty of laughs in its 75-minute running time (including extras) at a price that is lower than I expected. The are no differences in terms of content between the DVD or the Blu-ray, but the latter is a better deal thanks to the very reasonable price. If you are a fan of the comedienne, or of stand-up comedy in general, then it is worth picking up.


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