Taylor Mason
Guardian 2005
152 minutes (with all the extras)
Distributed by EMI Music Canada

There are very few absolutely must see stand-up comedy DVDs. After all, most of the time the CD will do. Bananas featuring stand-up comic and ventriloquist Taylor Mason is the exception to that rule. You have to see Mason in performance to get all the jokes and to fully experience this comedian and not only because he is a ventriloquist and, well, aside from Charly McCarthy, very few ventriloquists work well audio only.

Bananas is a TV show hosted by Thor Ramsey that airs on some Christian TV stations. Do not let that negatively influence you. There’s no religion here but the comedy is definitely clean and suitable for all ages. Again, this is not a problem as Taylor Mason does not seem to be limited or feel restricted in his show by this rule. Mason is without a doubt one of the most eclectic and polyvalent stand-up comics around. The extended version of his show on this great comedy DVD runs an hour and 10 minutes and you get everything you can possible want in comedy: funny jokes about people, relationships, wives, being a man; funny songs and ditties, audience interaction, and, Mason’s strength, ventriloquist bits with a variety of puppets who all have a distinct personality and voice.

Mason is a brilliant ventriloquist and he more than shows it time and again when he handles two or three puppets and voices at a time. This is a must see for any fan of ventriloquism and voice-throwing. These are tour-de-force performances, the culmination of which is the show closer where Taylor Mason has six members of the audience manipulate 6 different puppets and has the puppets sing Row, Row Your Boat.

What is fascinating about the ventriloquism part of this comedy show is how quickly the audience reacts to the puppets and not the comic with his hand up their butt. The rest of Mason’s act is very solid, and eclectic so sometimes it does lack a bit of focus or suffers from attention deficit disorder, and highly enjoyable.

Bananas featuring Taylor Mason has two versions of the show. The “as aired” version that runs some 48 minutes and is interspersed with interviews with the Mason and with the puppets, and the long, complete show version which is some 30 minutes longer. The long version is what you want to watch first. This DVD also includes the interviews in long form and a behind the scenes segment with Mason and host Thor Ramsey doing the rounds of various local radio stations. This is the kind of stuff you will maybe watch once.

Seriously, this is a must see and must have DVD for any serious fan of comedy. Taylor Mason is original, very different, extremely likeable, and funny.


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