The Original Kings of Comedy (2002)
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"What's wrong with having a white guy up there--what about Bob Sagett?"
First of all, it should be noted that although this film is directed by Spike Lee, he hasn't done anything special in terms of technical style. This is, after all, a stand up comedy concert film, and the action pretty much speaks for itself.
The Original Kings of Comedy are comprised of comics Cedric the Entertainer, Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley, and Bernie Mac. Harvey hosts the event. He sort of does his routine in between the other comedians spots. He gets howls of laughter with his wise commentary--particulary funny is his take on the difference between current hip hop and old school.
First up is Hughley from the TV. series The Hughley's. He's sort of the young guy in the group, but certainly wise beyond his years, as well evidencded by his highly energetic and very insightful routine. Following Hughley is the older but equelly funny Cedric the Entertainer. He's hilarious as he comments on aging and pays a laugh out loud homage to the art of break dancing.
The finale is Bernie Mac who you may remember from the film Life. He's certainly the raunchiest of the bunch--but by this point, you're hard to offend and you've already laughed your ass off.
One very interesting aspect of the Original Kings of Comedy is how hard these guys actually work. We capture glimpses of the real men back stage, then in character in front of thousands of laughing fans. These guys poor there hearts into their work and they earn there paycheck, standing out there brimming with energy, sweating bullets, and thriving off the energy of the crowd, much like an athlete or rock star would. I had a new appreciation for this artform when this film was over.
The Original Kings of Comedy is one of the most consistently funny comedies I've seen all year. I also admired the men themselves. These guys have something to say and they use comedy to express themselves. This film makes many important social comments without beating you over the head. In their own way, Harvey, Cedric, Hughley and Mac are breaking barriers and telling us all to love one another. You couldn't ask for a better message in from a movie--though granted The Original Kings of Comedy is an unlikely source. It's sort of ironic that although this isn't an actual Spike Lee Joint, it is one of the most important projects he's been a part of for some time. It's a shame that many people will be put off by the language and miss the big picture, (as was the case with Richard Pryor) because The Original Kings of Comedy isn't only one of the funniest films of the year, it's also one of the most earnest.
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