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Keith Truesdell
David Spade
Writing Credits:
David Spade

David Spade focuses on pop-culture bashing in his first solo HBO TV comedy special that aired on April 17, 1998 and was taped in front of a live audience. In this 60 minute show, David Spade uses his everyday life experiences as a platform for his jokes.

Rated NR

Fullscreen 1.33:1
English Dolby 2.0

Runtime: 56 min.
Price: $19.97
Release Date: 4/11/2006

• None


Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


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David Spade: Take The Hit (1998)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 25, 2006)

Unlike his Saturday Night Live peers such as Chris Rock and Adam Sandler, I never thought of David Spade as a stand-up performer. However, he shows that side of his talent via an HBO special entitled Take the Hit. Shot in his hometown of Phoenix, this special highlights Spade’s trademark sarcasm and snarkiness.

Spade’s routine mixes reflections on his youth and notes on pop culture. In the former category, he looks at his teen years and his problems with girls. Spade also chats about growing up with a rarely-there father and how this affected him.

In the latter area, Spade chats about music and movies. He also relates his thoughts on various subjects such as living in Arizona, going to the zoo, and residing in LA. Spade mixes personal thoughts with elements more related to general culture.

Frankly, the show works best when it focuses on Spade’s childhood. Expect barely muted anger as he gets into these elements. Spade feeds off an obviously less than idyllic youth for his attitude and tone, and when he indulges in those areas, he scores his best moments. These get a little too raunchy and mean at times, but Spade usually mines his pain for humor.

The pop culture stuff works less well, which comes as something of a surprise. Spade scored big points on SNL with his vicious “Hollywood Minute” routines, but he proves much less acerbic here. The best he can do is mock REM’s Michael Stipe for the singer’s continued “woe is me” lyrics despite the band’s success. That’s not particularly fresh or insightful, and these moments don’t go much of anywhere.

The dated nature of Hit doesn’t help. The show was recorded in early 1998, for God’s sake! This doesn’t affect the impact of Spade’s childhood remarks, but it makes his cultural references stale. Notes about Jon-Benet Ramsey and Titanic show their age. Sure, we still remember these events, but they don’t exactly feel fresh eight years later.

Hit comes across well on DVD through a professional and serviceable presentation. It sticks with the basics and doesn’t try to add artificial “spice” to the experience. Spade comes on stage, delivers his act, and that’s it; no backstage nonsense or video effects or anything else to interfere. Occasional crowd shots appear, but those remain minor, which is good. We see Spade mainly in medium or close-up shots, which works well for this kind of experience.

In the end, Take the Hit provides an erratic but generally amusing show. It suffers from cultural irrelevance due to references that were current when it was filmed but dated now. However, there’s enough wit on display to make it enjoyable.

The DVD Grades: Picture C+/ Audio C+/ Bonus F

David Spade: Take the Hit appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this single-sided, single-layered DVD; due to those dimensions, the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Simplicity ruled the day with Hit, as the basic production looked decent but unexceptional.

Sharpness generally seemed a bit erratic. Wider shots of Spade appeared somewhat ill defined and weren’t as distinctive as I’d like. Close-ups were better, as they offered good definition. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, but some edge enhancement appeared. Source flaws also were absent, as the presentation suffered from no artifacts, video noise or other issues.

Given the basic setting, colors stayed simplistic but solid. The hues and well depicted within the low-key parameters of the show. Blacks also appeared deep and firm, and the occasional low-light shot seemed clear and appropriately visible. There wasn’t a whole lot to the visual presentation of Take the Hit, but the DVD replicated the concert in a decent manner.

Similar thoughts greeted the Dolby Surround 2.0 soundtrack of Take the Hit. Not surprisingly, the mix presented a very modest soundfield. Spade’s monologue emanated firmly from the front center channel, so that speaker heavily dominated the proceedings. Otherwise, we got audience laughter and applause from the front sides and – to a lesser degree – surrounds. And that was it! Virtually no music appeared in the program, as tunes popped up only at the beginning and end.

Audio quality remained positive. Speech easily became the most important aspect of the track, and Spade’s remarks consistently sounded natural and warm. I noticed no edginess or problems with distortion, as her comments were always very smooth. The light applause and laughter also seemed clear and accurate. No one will use Take the Hit as a demo disc, but the soundtrack did what it needed to do.

As for supplements, the DVD includes none.

David Spade: Take the Hit seems like an odd show to release on DVD in 2006; recorded in 1998, it shows its age. Despite some dated moments, the performance includes more than a few laughs and provides decent entertainment. The DVD offers acceptable picture and sound but no extras. This is a pleasant piece but not a disc I can recommend; with a price of almost $20, you just don’t get enough to merit the cost.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.5 Stars Number of Votes: 6
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