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Daniel Tosh: Happy Thoughts DVD Review

Daniel Tosh: Happy Thoughts (2011) DVD cover art -- click to buy the DVD from Amazon.com Daniel Tosh: Happy Thoughts
Special & DVD Details

Original Airdate: March 6, 2011 / Running Time: 58 Minutes (Extended, Uncensored Cut) / Rating: Not Rated

Star: Daniel Tosh / Director: Beth McCarthy / Executive Producers: John Irwin, Daniel Tosh, Christie Smith

1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, Dolby Surround 2.0 (English)
Subtitles: None; Closed Captioned; Extras Not Captioned
DVD Release Date: March 8, 2011 / Suggested Retail Price: $16.99
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (DVD-9) / Black Eco-Friendly Keepcase

Buy Daniel Tosh: Happy Thoughts on DVD from Amazon.com Buy the concert CD album


It's taken a while, but Daniel Tosh appears to be making it in comedy. After more than ten years of doing standup circuits and taking what he can get (from local television to Taco Bell commercials),
Tosh got his own Comedy Central series in "Tosh.0", in which he as host comments and cracks wise on Internet videos. The show, launched in June 2009, is now into its third season and, with an average audience of over 2 million viewers, it is the cable network's biggest live-action draw, handily surpassing the ratings of iconic late night fixtures Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

While the second season of "Tosh.0" was rolling out, the 35-year-old comedian performed one night at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. From this June 12, 2010 act, we get Daniel Tosh: Happy Thoughts, an hour-long special that will debut on Comedy Central on March 6th and come to DVD and CD two days later. It is the network's second standup special devoted entirely to Tosh, who also claimed an episode of "Comedy Central Presents" back in 2003.

Daniel Tosh tackles sports, religion, and more in his second hour-long Comedy Central special, "Daniel Tosh: Happy Thoughts."

As often seems to be the case with these DVDs, Happy Thoughts stands as my official introduction to Tosh. I entered this program with no expectations and no knowledge or opinion on "Tosh.0." Dressed in a gray sweater, dark comfortable pants you might not recognize as plaid, and white low-tops, the clean-cut Tosh is immediately at ease in front of the California audience, as they are with him. Whereas some comedians have a strongly-defined style or personality, Tosh is pretty much just an average guy speaking his mind. He mostly talks about things everyone should be familiar enough with: getting ready to go places, professional sports, celebrities who are in the news. This being standup comedy, an edge is required and though he doesn't rage or swear incessantly, Tosh definitely gets a point-of-view out there in a sharp way that invites laughter.

While he doesn't go for shock value and envelope-pushing as many of his fellow standups, Tosh nonetheless waxes on heated issues without flinching. Race, gender, nationality, gay marriage, politics, domestic abuse, immigration, abortion, and the death penalty are all fair game, although one never gets the sense that Tosh is voicing genuine stances with conviction. He's simply commenting on divisive or passionate topics in unexpected and occasionally amusing ways. When he delivers a racist or misogynistic joke, he distances himself from it, claiming that he is not a bigot but merely reflecting what he sees in society. You believe him and that may just be because he's easygoing and easy to take. It also helps that he gives off the vibe of having considered his material at length, even deconstructing some bits and why they shouldn't offend. Tosh does not just spout out bile and raunch to discomfort an audience into responding. Even when the jokes flop (like a discussion of the subsequently-deconstructed thoughts that an infant offspring of Brad Pitt and David Beckham would inspire working as a Baby Abercrombie & Fitch entrance model), it's painless to stay onboard and hear him out.

In a discussion of DVD extras, Daniel Tosh explains the kind of alternate ending he'd consider worthwhile, using a wildly divergent conclusion to Disney's "The Mighty Ducks" as an example. This family of four seems to enjoy hearing Tosh have a go at soccer.

Tame by some standards, Tosh still lets profanity fly and is bound to offend a small part of the audience with any given remark. To me, the least tasteful bits were not the two that involved children's deaths (one of them an apparently real decapitation at Six Flags Over Georgia) but the pointed putdowns at the looks of ESPN sportscaster Stuart Scott, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, and Fergie of The Black Eyed Peas. Belittling physical appearance feels likes scraping the bottom of the barrel creatively, but Tosh demonstrates more wit and even insight in his other cultural ruminations, for example,
reminding us of the questionable role model value of Kobe Bryant and considering the pluses and minuses of Michael Jackson's upbringing. With the possible exception of his jabs at Mormons, Tosh remains level-headed and appealing enough, sailing through the act as an identifiably self-centered American jaded by modern conveniences and upset by small bumps in the road.

The DVD's feature presentation is an extended, uncensored 58-minute version of the special. The version that aired is kindly offered as a bonus feature.

VIDEO and AUDIO

Happy Thoughts is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. Unsurprisingly, it looks just as perfect as it needs to. Stand-up comedy does not pose much of a challenge for standard DVD compression and the element is consistently clean and sharp. I'm slightly surprised that the soundtrack is only offered in Dolby Surround 2.0 and not Dolby Digital 5.1, but the experience is not greatly different, with audience laughter still reaching out from the rear and Tosh's audio coming in crisp and clear from the front channels. Par for Comedy Central, closed captions are offered (only on the extended cut) but subtitles are sadly absent altogether.

Daniel Tosh ventures into the crowd as part of his Encore. A Day in the Life of Daniel Tosh includes hosting the web video commentary show "Tosh 2.0." Warm-up act Matt Fulchiron opts for the disheveled look apparently befitting someone as broke as he.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS and PACKAGING

A decent-sized menu of appropriate bonus features is found here. First up is the 42-minute version of the special that will air on Comedy Central. In addition to bleeped profanity, this tighter, choppier edit loses sixteen minutes of content and adds commercial break transitions. While presumably, most viewers will want their standup comedy uncensored and extended, I think it's a great idea to offer the broadcast version as well.
After all, that is what many people will use to decide if this DVD is worth buying or renting and discs of this sort always have plenty of room to spare.

Next up is Tosh's Encore (11:26). He doesn't reach as high in his return to the stage, but he still entertains the crowd with some scattered thoughts, Maggie Gyllenhaal disses, and crowd observations.

"A Day in the Life" (8:52) gives us a behind-the-scenes look at Tosh's work on "Tosh 2.0", from taping a promo with Nick Swardson to recording an episode with Slipknot singer Corey Taylor volunteering to shock himself. Tosh behaves like a prick, a self-deprecating maneuver for the camera crew trailing him.

Finally, we get Tosh's two opening acts from less accomplished stand-ups not exactly seizing their exposure opportunities. Jasper Redd (10:37) starts strong but quickly falls out of his groove with his jokes about race (he's black) and fast food (what is McDonald's Grimace?). Matt Fulchiron (9:54) wears an unflattering suit, which he comments on as part of his "I'm so broke" routine that he peppers with puns and concludes with a rap.

The main menu opens with the moving logo that titles the specials and remains scored and mildly animate after that. The other screens, including an oddly-named chapters list, are static and silent.

Daniel Tosh crouches into position to reassure those opposed to gay marriage that no law can stop Heaven's defense line from upholding the sanctity of the afterlife.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Daniel Tosh establishes himself as a fairly entertaining comedian in his new special Happy Thoughts. If you're a fan of him from "Tosh.0" or his previous stand-up, this is probably worth checking out either when it airs or more enjoyably comes to DVD shortly after. With its fine feature presentation, alternate broadcast version, and 40 minutes of worthwhile additional bonus material, there is nothing about the disc to take to task. I can only recommend it if you're comfortable with Tosh's stylings, but here at least he makes that easy.

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Reviewed February 19, 2011.



Text copyright 2011 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2011 Irwin Entertainment, Black Heart Productions, Comedy Central, Comedy Partners,
Comedy Central Home Entertainment, and Paramount Home Entertainment. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.