Kill the Messenger is absolutely, totally brilliant. This fifth Chris Rock HBO Special and 3 stand-up comedy DVD set is going to be a comedy landmark like Carlin’s Class Clown or Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip.

Recorded in the weeks before the 2008 American presidential election, Kill the Messenger is a dead-on take on American society with the best social commentary comedy any comic has performed in the last fifteen to twenty years.

Whether or not you are a major Chris Rock fan, the 3 DVD version of Kill the Messenger is the way to go. It contains the original HBO show which seamlessly segues from the New York City Apollo Theater, South Africa, and London performances, as well as the complete version of each of the 3 concerts (and a digital copy, woohoo). The 3-show segue sounds great but comedy fans know most DVD shows are like that except the comic wears the same outfit three times.

Kill the Messenger opens with a routine on Barak Obama and John McCain. This is where Chris Rock shows he is excellent at the old cast iron fist in a velvet glove approach to stand up: According to the media, when White folk say they are going to vote for Obama it’s because they weighed the issues and thought about it; when Black folk say they are going to vote for Obama it’s because they’re Black and he’s Black.

This segues elegantly into a bit on why a Black woman could not be First Lady, Black women in general, White women and Black men, and Black women and White men. Do not get me wrong: this is not dumb old white folk / black folk comedy; this is razor sharp social observation and commentary. Even the bit on how bad a President George Bush was is way above the standard stand-up stuff. The price of gas bit is already very dated but it is just a couple of minutes in an otherwise brilliant and relevant performance.

This show is not only White folk / Black folk stuff. Rock also has a couple of solid routines on racism, how only certain people (fat girls for example) can talk about other people (skinny girls) but the opposite is untrue. This launches Rock into a solid routine about appropriate language and the politically correct.

Another brilliant bit and very, very original stand-up comedy bit on the Kill the Messenger DVD is the job vs. career routine. This is followed by Things We Used to get for Free, It’s Hard Being a Man, and What do You Want?

This 74-minute HBO comedy special ends with a great, great bit on the sexual evolution of a woman and that of a man.

Chris Rock Kill the Messenger 3 stand-up comedy DVD Collector’s Edition is worth the extra few bucks. The New York Apollo show is 94 minutes, London runs for 84 minutes, Johannesburg runs 92 minutes.  Of course the shows are very similar but there are a couple of different routines in each. The extra feature on DVD 3, Conversations With Chris Rock is basically a 4 minute promo bit.

Is it really necessary to mention this is adult topic and adult language stand-up comedy?

Kill the Messenger 3 DVD Collector’s Edition
Chris Rock
HBO / Warner Home Entertainment 2009

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