Just For Laughs Comedy Festival
Best Of The Uptown Comics
Dave Chappelle, Patrice O?Neil, George Wallace
Reggie McFadden, Sheryl Underwood, John Henton,
Bruce Bruce, Wanda Sykes, Sinbad, David Alan Grier,
Steve Harvey, Alonzo Bodden, Renee Hicks
Image Entertainment 2005
95 minutes plus extras

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’Neal, 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’Neal 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.

Track list:

Dave Chappelle
Patrice O’Neal
George Wallace
Reggie McFadden
Sheryl Underwood
John Henton
Alonzo Bodden
Bruce Bruce
Renee Hicks
Wanda Sykes
David Allan Grier
Dave Chappelle
Steve Harvey


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