Spike Lee delivers The Original Kings of Comedy, a movie that is less a movie and more two hours of televised standup.
Everything seen is the actual tour, with a little backstage action. The Original Kings of Comedy is segmented into four parts, basically, each starring a member of the show, starting with Steve Harvey, moving to D.L. Hughley, then Cedric the Entertainer, and finally Bernie Mac.
At first, the shots of backstage and the comedians playing poker and stuff like that is boring, but once you get deeper into the film, you're wishing for more of it. It's not that The Original Kings of Comedy isn't funny - these four guys are really funny - but you're basically watching two hours of standup comedy with very few breaks, and it gets tiresome. It is one thing to be in the live audience watching them, and another to be sitting on the couch watching on your television. Their comedy really isn't that different (that's why they are able to tour together) and so The Original Kings of Comedy seems like a two hour standup show.
Steve Harvey starts it off, and also gets a few segments between the other entertainers (he's the host). He is also the funniest of all the comedians. Hughley follows up and is funny but nowhere near as much as Harvey, and Cedric the Entertainer follows - with the exception of a couple of jokes, I wasn't that entertained. I turned the movie off before I got through much of Bernie Mac.
Now, again, it's not that these guys aren't funny. The thing is that halfway through Hughley's act, I was getting bored of listening to the jokes. I bet that if Bernie Mac or Cedric had gone first, they would have been funnier than Steve Harvey (well, close anyway).
The biggest problem with The Original Kings of Comedy is that not much is cut out. It is hard to cut and edit a continuous show by one entertainer, so we basically get their entire standup routine. Some jokes are funnier than others, and some very long segments aren't funny at all. I wasn't in the least entertained by Harvey's long parade of music (although I was laughing hard about his bashing of rap music); it could have been cut out all together without losing anything.
It also doesn't help that it is hard to understand half the things that these guys are saying.
The Original Kings of Comedy would probably be a very entertaining film if watched in half hour segments, but watching it as a continuous movie is a bad idea. Two hours is a long time to listen to the same style of jokes. And really, the only extremely funny comedian in the show is Steve Harvey.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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