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Comedy Central Roast of David Hasselhoff DVD Review

Comedy Central Roast of David Hasselhoff DVD cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Comedy Central Roast of David Hasselhoff (2010)
Special & DVD Details

Executive Producers: Joel Gallen (also director), Larry Thompson / Writers: Ray James, Josh Comers, Anthony Jesselnik, Tom Johnson, David Feldman, Roger Rittenhouse, Steve Rosenfield, Corinne Marshall, Mike Ferrucci / Additional Material: Aaron Lee, Patrick Meighan, John Viener

Roastee: David Hasselhoff / Roastmaster: Seth MacFarlane / Roasters: Pamela Anderson, Jeffrey Ross, Greg Giraldo, Jerry Springer, George Hamilton, Whitney Cummings, Hulk Hogan, Gilbert Gottfried, Lisa Lampanelli / Also Featuring: Sharon Osborne, Piers Morgan, William Daniels (voice of KITT)

Running Time: 72 Minutes (Extended Version) / Rating: Not Rated (Broadcast Version TV-MA)

1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, Dolby Stereo 2.0 (English)
Subtitles: None; Special and Extras Closed Captioned
Original Airdate: August 15, 2010 / Roast Date: August 1, 2010
DVD Release Date: January 11, 2011 / Suggested Retail Price: $16.99
Single-sided, single-layered disc (DVD-5) / Black Eco-Friendly Keepcase

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Is it just me or are roasts the worst? I know that it is a long, celebrated tradition for comedians to gather together and say terrible things about one another,
but it's that kind of negativity that turns me away from stand-up even though some of my favorite entertainers made their names there.

While roasts used to either be televised and tame or private and vulgar, Comedy Central has bridged the gap by making them both televised and vulgar. The cable network began producing and airing the New York Friars' Club's annual roasts in 1998. After five years of that, Comedy Central started creating their own roasts in the same spirit. Hardly a year has passed without the network roasting a celebrity, some of them comedians (Denis Leary, Jeff Foxworthy, Bob Saget, Larry the Cable Guy) and others less so. Adding to the latter class is Comedy Central Roast of David Hasselhoff. Having debuted last August, this most recent special now comes to DVD extended and uncensored on January 11th, allowing the "Knight Rider" actor, international singer, "America's Got Talent" judge, and reliable joke punchline to join the ranks of Comedy Central roastees like William Shatner, Flavor Flav, and his "Baywatch" co-star Pamela Anderson.

A Knight Rider-inspired computer-animated action figure of David Hasselhoff approves the title logo for his 2010 Comedy Central Roast. Among those appearing on the dais of The Hoff's roast are, left to right, Whitney Cummings, Pamela Anderson, Jeffrey Ross, Greg Giraldo, Gilbert Gottfried, Hulk Hogan, roastmaster Seth MacFarlane, and, as set dressing, a receptive "lifeguard" in a red bathing suit.

Anderson is on hand as the most relevant roaster of the program, on which "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane serves as roastmaster. Other speakers include comedians and regular roasters Jeffrey Ross, Lisa Lampanelli, Whitney Cummings, and the recently deceased Greg Giraldo. Rounding out the eclectic group are Hulk Hogan, "Talent" colleague Jerry Springer, longtime actor George Hamilton, and Gilbert Gottfried.

Going by my limited exposure to Comedy Central roasts, I would deem this a fairly typical one. Each roaster chooses obvious targets while going after one another, such as MacFarlane's debt to "The Simpsons", Hamilton's age and signature tan, Springer's brand of sleaze, Lampanelli's weight and apparent predilection for black men, and the less famous folks' general obscurity. Hasselhoff, who ascends to the stage with a performance of "Hooked on a Feeling" and signs off with "This is the Moment" from his Broadway debut Jekyll & Hyde, barely gets more notice than the others. The comedic goldmines that are his career, personas, and personal life are widely traversed. Naturally, his battle with alcoholism emblemized by his 2007 drunken shirtless burger-eating viral video is repeatedly ridiculed.

Roasters often strive to push the envelope and those featured here uphold this rite. Genitalia, most often Anderson's, are frequently personified. Jokes are made about the Holocaust, the African American civil rights movement, and then-current news stories. Gary Coleman's corpse gets likened to Hasselhoff's liver. In these comedians' minds, nothing is in poor taste and with Hasselhoff agreeing to no boundaries, just about anything goes. As always, the outrageous insults are received with larger-than-life guffaws, with every target -- especially Hasselhoff, sitting high in a red lifeguard chair -- taking pain to display that they are the best of sports.

You can't roast David Hasselhoff without touching this rock-bottom 2007 moment, but it's somewhat surprising to see his shirtless off-the-floor burger meal included as part of the special's standout montage. In the leather jacket and briefs look of one of the roastee's more famous photo shoots, Jeffrey Ross makes a toast to David Hasselhoff.

It's a highly unpleasant atmosphere masked by joviality and I can't imagine enjoying it any more as part of the approving free audience than as an unamused home viewer.

There are two brief highlights to the show, which at 72 minutes runs at least nine minutes longer than it did in its 90 minutes of commercial airtime. The first is an early montage of Hasselhoff footage incorporating, among other things, "Baywatch", "Knight Rider" and Click clips, appearances on "Diff'rent Strokes", "SpongeBob SquarePants", and Norm MacDonald's "Saturday Night Live" Weekend Update, his performance at the Berlin Wall's fall, references on "The Simpsons" and "South Park", and the infamous burger video. This amusingly-edited reel entertains more than everything else that is to follow. That includes the second respite,
which has an unseen, uncredited William Daniels (also of "Boy Meets World" and "St. Elsewhere" fame) shortly reprising his role of KITT to good-naturedly join in the ribbing and questioning of Hasselhoff's judgment.

VIDEO and AUDIO

On DVD, the roast is presented, as it would have been on Comedy Central HD, in 1.78:1 widescreen. Enhanced for 16:9 displays, the picture is clean and sharp. While you don't watch something like this for the dazzling visuals, the professional production values are nonetheless appreciated.

The audio is plain two-channel stereo, which will be okay for most people (although hearty audience laughter makes this an obvious candidate for a Dolby Surround or 5.1 mix). In two places -- one a MacFarlane introduction, the more troubling other Hasselhoff's closing musical number -- the microphone audio gets somewhat drowned out by the ambience and music. Assuming that these moments were part of the broadcast (and I can't imagine that the latter wouldn't be), I'm guessing they were experienced the same way, but it does seem like an easy fix might have been in order. Par for a Comedy Central DVD, closed captioning is offered but subtitles are not.

David Hasselhoff joins in on a tender moment between Seth MacFarlane and Gilbert Gottfried in the behind-the-scenes bonus features. On the red carpet, Adam Devine questions and hits upon Hoff daughters Hayley and Taylor Hasselhoff, who are seen but not heard in the roast itself.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS and PACKAGING

The extended version of the roast is accompanied by 16 minutes and 28 seconds of behind-the-scenes bonus footage. It is divided into four different listings, but remains fairly consistent if overly segmented, taking us backstage and outside the event with candid remarks from The Hoff and his roasters. In clips that are available on Comedy Central's website,
patronizing young Adam Devine conducts pre-show red carpet interviews. He even speaks with audience members seen but unheard like Hasselhoff's college-aged daughters Taylor and Hayley, "The Office" star Craig Robinson, and "Baywatch"'s José Solano. (Others in this class not featured here include "Baywatch" actresses Nicole Eggert and Gena Lee Nolin.) Devine returns for post-roast chats with roasters and roastee alike.

The main menu plays beach music and sounds while the Hasselhoff action figure of the CGI opening stands calmly amidst animated flames.

Inside the standard black Eco-Box keepcase, a single-sided insert memorializes Comedy Central roast fixture Greg Giraldo, resembling a screen added to the end of the special's closing credits.

What a great sport! David Hasselhoff looks oh so comfortable laughing at all the jokes about his career woes and alcoholism. As on "Baywatch", Pamela Anderson's body seems to be of greater interest to people than David Hasselhoff.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

I have a tough time believing that people have a really good time watching Comedy Central roasts when they air. That anyone would enjoy one enough to want to buy the DVD and watch it multiple times is downright astonishing. The extended, uncensored presentation and handful of appropriate bonus features are fine, but I can't see this disc being anything but a rental for most people who weren't a part of this event. Even a single viewing will require more of an appreciation for the crude, mean-spirited roast format than for making fun of David Hasselhoff.

More on the DVD / Buy from Amazon.com

Buy from Amazon.com

Related Reviews:
New: The Other Guys • Cyrus • Despicable Me • Easy A • Stonehenge Apocalypse • Yogi Bear's All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper
David Hasselhoff: Kickin' It Old Skool | Seth MacFarlane: Family Guy: Volume Eight • Family Guy: Something, Something, Something, Dark Side
Pamela Anderson: Home Improvement: The Complete First Season | William Daniels: Boy Meets World: The Complete First Season
Gilbert Gottfried: Aladdin • Aladdin II & III Collection | George Hamilton: The Godfather Part III | Lisa Lampanelli: Drillbit Taylor
Comedy Central: A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All! • Lewis Black: Stark Raving Black • The Best of Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist
Funny People • Hot Tub Time Machine • The Simpsons: The Thirteenth Season • The Heartbreak Kid (2007) • Modern Family: The Complete First Season

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Reviewed December 30, 2010.



Text copyright 2010 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2010 Tenth Planet Productions, Comedy Central, Comedy Partners,
2011 Comedy Central Home Entertainment, and Paramount Home Entertainment. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.