If a stand-up comic was anybody or going to be a somebody in 1978, he or she appeared on a TV show called The Comedy Shop hosted by Norm Crosby. This is the 25 best episodes on a 5 DVD collection of that show. The World's Greatest Stand-up Comedy Collection features some 150 standup comics, comedians, and TV stars of the time as well as first television appearances by people who are now very famous such as Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond), Richard Belzer (Law and Order something or other) and comedy club staples such as Elayne Boozler and Gallagher, as well as weird acts like The Unknown Comic who also appears under his real name Murray Langston. Jay Leno (of Tonight Show fame) also makes a couple of appearances wearing the exact same suit.
Sometimes you get the feeling whoever put a DVD set together has never watched a DVD at home so the presentation, menus, and so on are a nightmare. This is not the case here. Somebody at Big Vision Entertainment decided that with some 5 comics per show and 5 shows per DVD, it would be a good idea to be able to navigate not only from episode to episode but from comic to comic. This is not only really cool as you can pop in one of the 5 discs in this funny DVD set and select who you want to watch and when but it also greatly enhances your viewing pleasure and the value of this collection. The only downer is this same person insisted on having the same annoying theme music play during each menu selection and play real loud.
Also interesting in this collection is who the guest star of the week was. This was someone who was in a sitcom or other TV show and would come on The Comedy Shop to introduce a hot young comic. This way, you get to see Brooke Shields (who has definitely worked on her timing since then), Greg Evigan (of BJ and the Bear fame, remember that?) Zsa Zsa Gabor (one of those Hollywood celebs famous for being famous -for the younger crowd she was sort of Paris Hilton's grandmother), Bert Convy, Joey Van, and so on and so on.
It is amazing just who used to be a stand-up comic and you never would have guessed. You can catch Michael Keaton (Batman, Herbie: Fully Loaded with Lindsay Lohan, First Daughter, and a whole bunch of other movies) in a set as uneven as his career has been. Then again, there are quite a few names here who are now Las Vegas staples such as the Great Tomsoni, Steve Bluestein, Marty Allen, Jackie Gayle, Shelley Berman, and so on.
Of couse, not everybody who was on The Comedy Shop in its short three-year run became famous. Can you figure out what happened to Maureen Murphy, McCall & Brill, Dale Gonyea, Jim Teeter or Roberta Kent? Well, if you can, you can find them on disc 2 of this collection. Disc 2 is also a delight for fans of impressionists like Fred Travalena and David Frye (most famous for the Kennedy album) as they definitely outnumber straight stand-ups on this particular disc.
There is something and someone for everybody in this collection. Norm Crosby had a very eclectic taste when it came to humor and what is funny so you will see comedy duos, magicians, impressionists, ventriloquists (including the great Willy Tyler and Lester), musical comics, black comics, and a few southern comics.
This is a great DVD collection.
The Unknown Comic, Franklin Ajaye, Gallagher, Jay Leno, Michael Keaton, Dick Van Patten, Buddy Hackett, Jackie Vernon, Howie Mandel, Shelley Berman, Vic Tayback, Garry Shandling, Milton Berle, Stack and Lane (featuring Nathan Lane), Robert Goulet, Paul Rodriguez, Phyllis Diller, Jackie Gayle, Murray Langston, Richard Belzer, Arsenio Hall, Greg Evigan, Henny Youngman, Elayne Boozler, Willy Tyler and Lester, Gary Mule Deer, The Graduates, Don Rickles.
Jack Carter, Dale Gonyea, Fred Travelena, McCall and Brill, Shelley Winters, Maureen Murphy, Ed Asner, Micky Marvin, Franklin Ajaye, David Frye, Brooke Shields, Jeff De Hart, Skip Stephenson, Professor Irwin Corey, Jim Teeter, Dick Shawn, Jeff Bridges, Denny Johnson, Shelley Berman, Steve Bluestein, Jackie Gayle, Jay Leno, Ed McMahon, Roberta Kent, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Joey Villa, Greg Lewis, The Great Tomsoni, Jimmy Walker (introduces only) Byron Allen
Avery Scheiber, Henny Youngman, Mike Binder, Bob Neun, Kevin Nealon, Bert Convy, Jackie Vernon, Billy Fellows, Gallagher, Morty Gunty, Jill St. John, Bobby Kosser, Foster Brooks, Tom Dreesen, Jimmy Martinez, Ben Powers, Sorrell Brooke, Brad Garrett, Slappy White, Jackie Kahane, Jeff Altman, Robin Tyler, Alex Trebek, Will Shriner, Betty White, Marty Allen, Roger & Roger, Marty Cohen, Bowser, David Tyree.
Marty Allen, Jack Albertson, Jeff Altman, Bob Anderson, Ed Asner, Conrad Bain, Milton Berle, Foster Brooks, Ron Brown, Phyllis Diller, Jesse Emmett, Norman Fell, Billy Fellows, John Fox, Buddy Hackett, Stanley Myron Handelman, Bill Kirchenbauer, George Lindsey, Mark Miller, Kelly Monteith, Gary Mule Deer, Sal Richards, Bill Saluga, Yakof Smirnoff, Skip Stevenson, Stweie Stone, Greg Travis, The Unknown Comic, Joey Van, Williams & Ree.
Sandy Barron, Pat Boone, Elayne Boosler, Alan Bursky, David Doyle, Russ Fisher, Phil Foster, Richard Kiel, Bernie Kopell, Jeremy Krispien, Jerry Lane, Peter Lawford, Eugene Libowitz, Dick Lord, Mickey Manners, Dick Martin, Sonny Melendez, Art Metrano, Marilyn Michaels, George Miller, Mort Sahl, Isabel Sanford, Bobby Shields, Bobby Slayton, Skeip Stephenson, Mark Summers, Rip Taylor, Hilda Vincent, Marsha Warfield.
Other Various Stand-Up Comics Reviews
Play The Word - Volume 1: Merril Markoe, Rob Cohen, Julie Rottenberg, Adam Zweibel, Beth Lapides, Winnie Holzman, George Meyer
Play The Word - Volume 2: Jay Kogen, Cindy Chupack, Eric Gilliland, Beth Lapides, Julia Sweeny, Cindy Camponera, Rob Cohen
Before They Were Kings Volume 1: a comedy Dvd featuring some old sets has not aged a bit.
Before They Were Kings Volume 2: an interesting though not a must have stand-up comedy DVD.
The Big Black Comedy Show Volume 1: The Big Black Comedy Show Volume 1 is a very solid comedy DVD
The Big Black Comedy Show Volume 2: Big Black Comedy Volume 1 is far superior to this comedy DVD
Laffapalooza 5: not the best of the bunch but quite decent nonetheless
Laughing Matters: Bad director! Bad director!! Someone take her splicing kit away, now!
Drive By Comedy: a pretty good sample style audio book comedy CD
The Naughty Show Bad Girls Of Comedy: Kim Cea, Stella Stolper, Lisa Ann Walter, Kate Rigg, Shayma Tash, Robin Montague. Ex adult film star director, limp product, no money shot.
Redneck Comedy Roundup: skip over the many Engvall tracks and enjoy the other stand-up comics
Invite Them Up: 4 hours on 3 comedy CDs and 1 DVD, hard to beat
Open Mic: behind-the-scenes documentary about the stand-up comedy biz
Man Alive - CBC Winnipeg Comedy Festival: CBC Winnipeg Comedy Festival show John Wing Jr, Glen Foster, others
Just For Laughs Vol 1 Best of The Uptown Comics: Uptown Comics Volume 1 is an excellent stand-up comedy DVD.
Just For Laughs Stand-Up Vol 2 On The Edge: Comedy Festival gala performances by comedy's edgiest,funniest
The Good,The Bad, And The Drugly: Major stand-up comedy artists do very different stuff.
Un-Cabaret - The Un & Only: Decent not quite comedy CD
10,000 Laughs : Best of the Boston Comedy Festival: Very good stand-up comedy CD features 16 stand-up comics and not a bad set in the bunch.
Comedy Death-Ray: A different comedy concept 2 CD set with Patton Oswalt, Maria Bamford, David Cross, and many others.
Cutting Edge Comedians of the 60s and 70s DVD - Capsule Review: Great Stand-up comedy TV clip collection.
Cutting Edge Comedians of the 60s and 70s - Full Review: DVD with rare TV clips of comedy greats like Cosby, Newhart, Carlin, etc
Indian Invasion Comedy: Buffet style DVD featuring Mark Saldana, Bijai Nathan, Rajiv Satyal, Dalia, and Vidur Kapur.
Katt Williams presents Katthouse Comedy: Ordinary stand-up comedy DVD with Red Grant, Luenell, and Melanie Comarcho
National Lampoon Live Un-Scripted with Frank Caliendo: Buffet style stand-up comedy CD with Frank Caliendo, John DiResta, Bert Kreischer, Tess, and Steve Byrne
Comics Without Borders - Season One: Russell Peters hosts 18 comics in stand-up comedy variety pack
Best of Montreal Comedy: Good variety pack of up-and-coming Montreal comics
Yuk Yuk's Guide To Canadian Stand-up: Yuk Yuk's owner presents the history of Canadian stand-up comedy in must have 5 CD audio book set featuring more than 50 stand-up comics.
The Awkward Comedy Show: Buffet style stand-up comedy DVD featuring 5 nerdy Black comics
A 420 Friendly Comedy Special: Very good comedy but not as much pot as you'd expect.
Comedy Juice All-Stars: Very good compilation from Stand Up! Records aside from Eddie Pepitone