Comic Relief – The Greatest and The Latest is an absolute, total, complete, unquestionable must have for any comedy fan and that’s just the first disc. This 2 stand-up comedy DVD set is also a nightmare to watch: there are so many great comics and moments you do not know where to start and when to finish. Four and a half hours of the best moments and routines from 20 years of Comic Relief makes for more difficult choices than there is hair on Robin Williams.

If a comic was around in the last twenty or so years she or he is here, some getting more time and appearances than others. I gave up selecting a favorite moment after Gary Shandling or about three minutes into Comic Relief – The Greatest and The Latest but the bit featuring the cast of Star Trek The Next Generation stands out. A close second is Williams’ superb Bobbit routine. It is a lot easier to figure out the low point is Bob Saget but fortunately he only shows up twice.

There are many, many great comics and moments on this 2 DVD set. One that … stands out … is Dudley Moore and Peter Cook reprising their one-legged actor routine. It is also good to see Steve Allen and Jose Jimenez again if much too briefly.

One of the clips you will want to share with friends and family is from Comic Relief IV featuring Dana Carvey as a rock musician. It is brilliant to the point you will never be able to watch a rock star without thinking of Carvey.

Considering Comic Relief covers twenty years it is not surprising some of the bits are dated. Many will wonder why Letterman mentions why he will not be hosting the show and why that is funny.

These, however, are few and far between. What is surprising is how often Williams tells dick jokes though one in one of those moments Crystal cheats so you know the bit is not as improvised as you might think.

Of course, not all performance clips are complete. This is usually not a problem -and shortens Bob Saggett’s unwelcome-but I really would have liked to see the entire Richard Belzer ventriloquist with Gilbert Gottfried dummy routine and the complete really non-PC routine by Drew Carey.

The second disc making up these four and a half hours of stand-up comedy is the 2-hour 2006 Katrina Comic Relief from Las Vegas. The opening number should be a lesson to the Academy Awards show on how to do one right.

The rest of the show is really solid to. It is good to see Rosie O’Donnell do stand-up again. Bill Maher’s routine is already dated. One thing I appreciated in the second disc is each comic gets a track so you can immediately go to your favorite. Crystal’s homage to New Orleans is absolutely remarkable so make sure you check out that extra feature.

That proceeds from The Greatest and The Latest go to help homeless people is neat. All I care is that this is an extraordinary comedy package.

Comedians featured on DVD 1 of Comic Relief The Greatest and The Latest: Gary Shandling, Gilda Radner, Harold Ramis, Catherine O’Hara and Martin Short, Jon Lovitz, Carl Reiner, George Carlin, Eugene Levy and John Candy as the Polka brothers, Michael Davis, Dennis Miller, Bobcat Goldthwait, Elayne Boosler, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, Richard Lewis, Arsenio Hall, Penn & Teller, Roseanne Barr, Steven Wright, Steve Allen, Bill Dana, Tom Poston, Don Knotts, Marsha Warfield, Paul Reiser, Jim Varney, Robin Duke, Woody Harrelson and Shelley Long, Joan Rivers, Dana Carvey, Rosie O’Donnell, Don Rickles, Jake Johanssen, Jim Carrey, Bret Butler, Alan King, Dave Chappelle, Carlos Mencia, Bill Maher, Rick Overton,  Dan Aykroyd with Jim Belushi and John Goodman as the Blues Brothers, Richard Belzer and Gilbert Gottfried, Dane Cook, Margaret Cho, Chris Rock, Louie Anderson, Ronert Klein, Louie Anderson, Bobby Slayton, Jon Stewart, Jeff Wayne, Sinbad, Craig Shoemaker, Drew Carey, Queen Latifah, Richard Jeni, Milton Berle, Paul Rodriguez, Caroline Rhea, Kathy Griffin, David Cross, Bob Odenkirk,.

Stand-up comic appearing with on DVD 2 (and not already listed above): Ray Romano, Bob Zmuda, Stephen Colbert, Susie Essman, D.L. Hughley, Jimmy Kimmel, Howie Mandel, Sarah Silverman, Lewis Black, Fred Willard with Jennifer Coolidge and Catherine O’Hara, Mike Epps, Louis C.K. Katt Williams, Wayne Brady.

The only thing wrong with this Shout! Factory release is it announces a Zack Galifianakis DVD. God forbid!

Comic Relief – The Greatest and The Latest
Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg
Your favorite stand-up comedian
2 DVDs 4 and a half hours
Shout! Factory 2008

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