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Featured DVD Review: Kristen Schaal: Live at the Fillmore

April 16th, 2013

Kristen Schaal: Live at the Fillmore - Buy from Amazon

This is going to be a really short review for a couple of reasons. Like all stand-up comedy concert DVDs, it is nearly impossible to review Kristen Schaal: Live at the Fillmore without spoiling the jokes. Because of this, reviews for such releases tend to be very short. The second reason is...

The Movie

I'm not sure it's real. Obviously the stand-up concert really happened and it did air on TV and was then released on DVD, but there's something really odd about the show. The first half of the set is very funny, but then it bombs really hard. It bombs in such a spectacular fashion that is draws you in and you can't look away. Sure, stand-up comics have bad nights and they bomb all of the time, even the best of them, so why is this strange? Comedy Central airs their one-hour specials on the Saturday. This one aired on the Monday. It aired on Monday, April the 1st. There are many who think the second part of the act is an elaborate April Fool's joke. And really, given what we see happen, how can it be anything but an elaborate April Fool's joke? This raises one impossible question. How do you review a comedy act when it is intentionally not funny? If you succeed in not being funny, is that really a success? Or is succeeding at failing still failing?

On a simpler note, is it worth picking up a comedy DVD when half the act doesn't involve comedy? I can at least answer that question below.

The Extras

A lot of stand-up comedy concert DVDs have little to no extras. You are lucky if you get a few minutes of behind-the-scenes footage. On the other hand, this DVD has Kristen Schaal's performance on Comedy Central Presents, which is a 21-minute performance that is funny, although with the same awkward mood. There are also 17 minutes of her performance from John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show. Finally, there are three segments from The Daily Show, each about five minutes long. That's almost as much bonus material as some stand-up comedy concert DVDs are in total.

The Verdict

Kristen Schaal: Live at the Fillmore is half stand-up comedy routine and half performance art, really awkward performance art. Not everyone is going to appreciate it; I have mixed feelings about it myself. That said, the DVD is loaded with extras and there's more than enough comedy that is meant to be funny so that even if you don't like the performance art portion of the main set, it is worth picking up.

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Filed under: Video Review, John Oliver, Kristen Schaal