Uptown Comics is, next to the Relationship Show, one of the hardest tickets to get at the Just For Laughs Montreal International Comedy Festival and the only show with a predominantly Black audience. The Uptown Comics show at Just For Laughs was once held at the dreadful Kola Note and is now held at the Spectrum. Just For Laughs Uptown Comics Volume 1 is a series clips from past gala performances by Black stand-up comics. In other words, not quite the same show or crowd, the major difference being that a Gala performance is the clean and non-controversial part of the comic's act. Still Uptown Comics Volume 1 is an excellent stand-up comedy DVD.
It's about time Just For Laughs made its vast collection of stand-up comedy available on DVD and Uptown Comics is a good place to start. This particular stand-up comedy DVD is a must have for any fan of stand-up comedy or fan of Black stand-up comics. You get all the big names like Dave Chappelle (twice), the great George Wallace, Bruce Bruce, the often uneven Sinbad, and a whole bunch of other really good Black stand-ups like Wanda Sykes, Sheryl Underwood, David Alan Grier, John Henton, Patrice O'Neil, Reggie McFadden, Renee Hicks, and Steve Harvey. These are performances you may have seen on the Just For Laughs TV show but finally put together on one stand-up comedy DVD.
There is, of course, not a single bad set in the bunch and all of these Black stand-up comics are at the top of their game for their gala performance (the one that counts in terms of being seen by the right people during Just For Laughs). Dave Chappelle opens with a nine-minute set concentrated on cops, being mugged by a white man, racial profiling, and black hostages. He is at his very best here. Patrice O'Neil follows by telling everyone New York City is back to normal after 9/11 since the killings are back up. He also does a few funny jokes about food and terrorists in the Midwest.
The great George Wallace follows with comedy about wildlife, and a lot of observational jokes about things you never see, things he does not understand, people who need to go to jail, and a crowd pleaser on the way people drive in Montreal. Reggie McFadden has a great stand-up routine on the TV show Cops and its cameraman and on dating and paying for stuff. Sheryl Underwood, the stand-up comedienne with a purse, opens by stating there are too many white people in Canada and continues with lots of jokes about black men.
You have probably seen stand-up comic John Henton before. He is the comedian who points out to Tiger Woods he may be fraction man but in the United States he will always be seen as a Black man. Sinbad gives a solid performance on Uptown Comics Volume 1 with tailor-made Montreal jokes and jokes about parents and children. Personal fave Alonzo Bodden does his best relationship jokes. Bruce Bruce talks about his weird relatives. Wanda Sykes does married jokes and a great bit about the difference between dogs and cats.
Athletes will enjoy David Allan Grier's stand-up comedy about running a marathon on Uptown Comics Volume 1. Dave Chappelle makes a second appearance with his very funny societal observational comedy that hides an ugly truth behind the great jokes. Steve Harvey has very funny material about French plane instructions, sports, and snorkeling in Jamaica.
Most of the sets on Uptown Comics Volume 1 run about 6 and a half minutes with a few shorter ones and a couple of longer ones. This stand-up comedy DVD is superior to Kings Of Comedy and Queens of Comedy in that you get a much wider selection, some stand-up comedy tailor made for a specific audience, an interview with Sinbad, and a some candid backstage shots.
David Allan Grier
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.
World's Greatest Stand-Up Comedy Collection: World's greatest stand-up comedy DVD collection. They are all there.
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 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