Ricky Gervais Live IV: Science (UK - DVD R2)
Marcus didn't learn much about science but he did hear a lot about fat people...
Ricky Gervais returns with a world comedy tour and this time he tackles the topic of science (though not at all really, but this is comedy, you can call it what you like, right?)
Filmed at London's Hammersmith Apollo the slightly over the top Frankenstein’s lab decorated stage has a noticeably trimmed down Gervais playing with two personas. The first is the outrageously offensive 11 O’Clock Show Ricky and the other, the more standard live stand up Ricky who presents a case and then tears the details to pieces.
Now reviewing a stand up show is difficult because comedy is at its core not for everybody. What someone finds offensive or unfunny may very cause the person next to them to split a seam with laughter. For me, Gervais is everything the media hails him as (a comedy genius... obviously), but stand up is still relativity new to him on this scale and while I found the majority of the show funny it did have its weak points.
Don’t get me wrong, 11 O’Clock Show Ricky is what made me love the guy in the first place. In fact what was already a great show in the Iain Lee, Daisy Donovan and Ali G period soon became all about Ricky when he showed up as the reporter who didn’t seem to have any politically correct boundaries (on a side note, why isn’t a collection of The 11 O’Clock Show available on DVD exactly?) Anyway, this Ricky is amazing and seeing him on full rant mode for the first half of the show was sort of a nostalgic treat. It's not really until he takes an overlong look at fat people that it started to get a little too much. It’s not that it wasn’t funny, but it seemed to be an all out attack with a very flimsy point as opposed to sharp pops at obesity. In fact I found myself thinking about how bad it must have been for any overweight people in the crowd at one point because Ricky just wouldn’t let it go and rather than a natural feeling routine it all started feeling a little too scripted.
As we move into the second half of the show, Ricky steps more into Animals mode and he starts presenting facts of nature that outweigh religion and more specifically the story of Noah’s Ark which is an absolute blast. He also does a great section on how wanking off fifteen men at the same time is a lot like spinning plates and a whole encore about flying after 9/11 and how fear controls our actions.
Science barely even skims the subject in truth, but then when did his other stands up gigs get close to their subjects either? For me Science ranks about third in the four tours. Just after Animals and Fame with Politics trailing last. Ricky Gervais is undoubtedly a funny guy and his likability makes his shows more enjoyable, but when you compare his stand up routine to people like Louis C.K. or Chris Rock or performers who fire great stories and gags at you like it’s the most natural thing in the world, Ricky still has a little way to go to be considered a great stand up act for me, but that don’t mean I love him any less.
Well unless a stand up gig has a decidedly terrible transfer or an exceptionally great one, there’s really not too much to say. Science looks exactly like every other stand up DVD released at Christmas. The set has some colour and props to make it a little less sparse and everything looks fine. I could rattle on about the details in Ricky’s beard or his skin tone going redder in the more energetic parts of the show but honestly, if you’ve seen a stand up DVD before you know how this looks and it doesn’t really need be dissected. It’s a typical transfer that’s consistent throughout, there are no anomalies or surprises and the job gets done.
With a Stereo 2.0 track, once again there’s not a lot to report. It’s all Ricky Gervais talking, simple as that. The sound is clear, there’s the odd crowd surge of laughter but the stereo track does its job and that’s all it's there to do.
We’ll start with the flimsiest extra, ‘Ricky in New York’ (10:02) which is simply camcorder footage shot by Ricky having a discussion with Larry David on the set of Curb Your Enthusiam intercut with Ricky’s Letterman interview. It’s a bit of fun with a few laughs but over just as it gets going.
‘Meet Karl Pilkington II’ (24.54) is the sequel to the discussion on the Politics DVD. I know some people don’t like Karl and think it’s all scripted, but I’m the polar opposite. Everything that comes out of that man's mouth causes me to hurt from laughing so much. Here they discuss science (more than they do in the show) and Karl tells us how he feels about DNA, time travel and a number of other subjects. I laughed more at his reactions to having to meet cavemen with no pants on than I did most of the Ricky’s stand up show if I’m honest and while it wasn’t as good as the original Meet Karl Pilkington (which I’ve watched countless times) it was still brilliant.
Lastly we have ‘Karl Meets Warwick Davis’ (18:32) which I can barely even write about without laughing. I would buy this entire DVD just for this extra. Karl meeting Warwick has been a long time coming and seeing how uneasy Karl is around him starts the extra off to a fine start especially when Ricky conducts the whole thing with Warwick sitting on Karl’s lap. Karl’s inability to visualise Warwick’s tinier scaled kitchen with a normal sized kettle had me in stitches but after the segment on Karl’s litter tray as a child, my stomach hurt I was laughing so much. This captured the mood of the massively popular podcasts well and as always I seem to laugh more when Ricky is laughing at Karl so all in all this was one of the best extra features of the year for me. Awesome stuff.
Ricky’s new stand up Science has plenty of great moments but felt a little inconsistent in places. It still had a high ratio of laughs from me, even when some of the rants got tiresome, however there’s a lot in here that I’d happily sit down and watch again.
The features stole the show for me, with both Karl Pilkington selections nearly choking me because I couldn’t stop laughing. Overall this is another great Ricky Gervais package and fans of his work should have a blast, especially those of you who loved Ricky from the 11 O’Clock Show.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 18 years and over
Release Date: 22nd November 2010
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 English
Extras: Meet Karl Pilkington II, Karl Meets Warwick Davis, Ricky in New York
Easter Egg: No
Director: Dominic Brigstocke
Cast: Ricky Gervais
Length: 78 minutes
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