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Denis Leary and Friends Present Douchebags and Donuts DVD Review

Denis Leary and Friends Present: Douchebags and Donuts (2011) DVD cover art -- click to buy the DVD from Amazon.com Denis Leary and Friends Present: Douchebags and Donuts
Special & DVD Details

Original Airdate: January 16, 2011 / Running Time: 99 Minutes / Rating: Not Rated

Performers: Denis Leary, Whitney Cummings, Lenny Clarke, Adam Ferrara

Executive Producers: Denis Leary, Jim Serpico / Director: Joe Perota

1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English), Dolby Stereo 2.0 (English)
Subtitles: None; Closed Captioned; Extras Not Captioned
DVD Release Date: January 18, 2011 / Suggested Retail Price: $16.99
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (DVD-9) / Black Eco-Friendly Keepcase

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Denis Leary may be 53 years old now, but he shows no sign of mellowing. His recent Comedy Central special, Denis Leary and Friends Present: Douchebags and Donuts, is as full of anger as much of his stand-up from the past twenty years has been. Filmed at New York's The Town Hall on June 27, 2010, this 99-minute special preserves the twelfth and final performance of FX's month-long national "Rescue Me Comedy Tour 2."

Leary opens with a musical assault on the Catholic Church. Having been introduced by a dubbed video of Pope Benedict, he comes out making crosses out of his middle fingers in front of a large electric blue cross.
With backup singers in nuns' habits, Leary sings about priest pedophilia in a way that is as stale as it is sacrilegious. I gave serious thought to turning off the program in these opening minutes, but I persevered, certain that it would improve. Sadly, Douchebags doesn't get much better than this.

Leary holds the mic for 45 minutes, during which his rants fall into just a few categories. From the offensive Church number, he segues into ridiculing anti-gay politicians who have been accused of suspiciously gay activity. While musing about Republican Senator Larry Craig's airport bathroom stall charges, Leary stretches his long legs to try and recreate Craig's "wide stance" defense. Leary gradually lightens up on the politics in moving to celebrity mug shots, evaluating those of Lawrence Taylor, Rush Limbaugh, Mel Gibson, Amy Winehouse, Elvis Presley, and, most extensively, James Brown and Nick Nolte. Once again, there is nothing humorous enough to excuse the use of such dated subject matter.

In "Douchebags and Donuts", Denis Leary is still as angry as ever about everything from prescription drug side effects (seen here) to old men on Facebook.

Leary's best bit involves more visual analysis, this time reading lists of real prescription drug side effects. His delivery here is good for the biggest chuckle of the evening. He then moves on to railing the way that 35-year-olds dress and act, a bitter rant that starts with Brad Pitt and somehow leads to him straining facial muscles while plucking his neck veins as a Chinese man singing Sting.

The "Friends" part of the title comes into play beginning with Whitney Cummings, the young roast comic, former "Punk'd" pranker, and frequent "Chelsea Lately" guest. Cummings speaks much more quickly than Leary, but is no more amusing. Somehow, I've heard almost every one of her jokes before, though I'm not sure how she could have fit so many into the only one televised showcase I would have seen (on the last lap of Conan O'Brien's "Tonight Show"). Cummings' comedy is all about sex and how men and women approach it in different ways. She takes the contrast between the sexes far and promises wonderful things to the lucky man who gets to marry her ("[expletive] cornrows all down my legs... my vagina's gonna look like a porcupine").

Lenny Clarke has the difficult task of following that classy act. It's tough to believe that Clarke is just four years older than Leary, his fellow Bay Stater, longtime friend, and "Rescue Me" nephew. Clarke looks and sounds like he belongs to an altogether different generation, as he talks about losing 174 pounds the Weight Watchers way, texting, and missing child abuse. His discussion of bestial donkey shows in Tijuana not only looks to shed his "old guy" image (which gave him the air of a foul-mouthed version of Coach from "Cheers"), but feels as if it is taken verbatim from Seth Rogen in The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

Crass comedienne Whitney Cummings explains how women like her use their heads to view sex as exercise. Compared to Denis Leary's other friends, Adam Ferrara seems sweet and tame as he talks about love and urination.

Leary returns with his musical accompaniment, The Enablers with The Rehab Horns and the Co-Dependents, for a song about all the people earning the title "Douchebag", from the politically correct to manscapers.
There's a hint of wit creeping through the venom, but at the same time it's odd for "Jersey Shore" cast members to appear on the screens behind Leary; keeping with the times seems contrary to his stubborn persona.

For the final 15-minute set, we get Adam Ferrara, another "Rescue Me" actor/standup comedian. Entirely at ease, Ferrara makes jokes about his recent engagement and buying a ring for his fiancιe, providing a far sweeter tone than his predecessors. It's still as unfunny as the others, but at least it doesn't leave you feeling like you need to take a shower or to go to confession.

The concert concludes with Leary and the bands performing his notorious '90s anthem "Asshole."

Need it be said that the special is absolutely uncensored on DVD, as opposed to its sanitized TV-PG airing this past Sunday? Furthermore, it runs more than twice as long on disc as it would have in its one-hour timeslot, where I would guess the "Friends" most likely ended up on the cutting room floor.

Those intrigued by the special's subtitle may be disappointed to find greatly disproportionate attention paid to douchebags and donuts; the latter, in fact, is only mentioned in a post-credits tag.


Presented, like just about everything else on television these days, in 1.78:1 widescreen, Douchebags and Donuts looks great. It's not surprising that a single setting show faces no complications on a dual-layered DVD, but it's still nice. The special can be heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 or plain stereo. I'm not sure the latter option was needed, but the former is adequate, distributing some audience response in the rear speakers but mostly remaining clear in the center channel. There are no subtitles, but the feature presentation is closed captioned.

The profane number seemingly performed second is relegated to bonus feature status on this DVD. On the bus in "Snapshots from the Road", Denis Leary ribs pal, tour mate, and onscreen uncle Lenny Clarke for vowing he'd sell his soul for the tiny pudding cup he holds.


Four bonus videos included here can be viewed individually or as a group. First up are two cut musical performances. "Fuck You" (3:18) is not Cee Lo Green's Grammy-nominated song,
but an original ditty in which screens translate the expression into various foreign languages. A Traditional Irish Folk Song (2:38) mixes gibberish with lyrics about drinking and puking.

More worthwhile, "Snapshots from the Road" (10:49) documents the Rescue Me 2 Tour with backstage, bus, and rehearsal footage plus clips of the jokes being told at earlier shows. It's a candid, fitting behind-the-scenes look.

Finally, six "Detours on the Road" shorts (5:10) provide various moments along the way, the most interesting being Lenny Clarke's monkey bars exercise regimen and the group reading a review of their show.

In addition, the main menu's "About L.F.F." listing leads to a two-page write-up on The Leary Firefighters Foundation, to which a portion of the proceeds from this DVD's sales will benefit. The section also includes a 1-minute PSA on the charity.

After a very brief animated opening, the DVD's main menu settles on a wide rendering of the cover art, joined by a loop of music and applause.

The notorious crazed mug shots of James Brown and Nick Nolte become fodder for Denis Leary and his impressions. As part of his rantings on douchebaggery, Denis Leary tries to give Larry Craig the benefit of the doubt by recreating the wide stance with the Senator claims he defecates.


Prior to viewing Douchebags and Donuts, I had no negative feelings toward Denis Leary. The guy is a part of three of my favorite 1990s movies and his signature rants in that decade's commercials made him the kind of cultural icon you could appreciate without really knowing. So, while I didn't enter this Comedy Central special with clear expectations, it's still unfortunate that I can't imagine any that are low enough to come away satisfied. The angry jokes of this program are shockingly unfunny for something bearing the name of one of the more famous comedians out there. The whole thing just feels uninspired and I doubt I'm alone in that assessment. While admittedly I've got a narrow frame of reference, I can't recall ever seeing as many straight faces in stand-up act crowd shots as here.

In short, there is no reason to recommend this to anyone who's not a diehard fan of Leary or his friends here. If you're feeling charitable, skip this DVD and make a donation anywhere.

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Reviewed January 19, 2011.

Text copyright 2011 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2011 Comedy Partners, Apostle, Line by Line Productions, Comedy Central Home Entertainment
and Paramount Home Entertainment. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.