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HBO

MOVIE INFO

Director:
John Moffitt
Cast:
Tracy Morgan
Writing Credits:
Tracy Morgan

Synopsis:
Emmy nominated comedian/actor Tracy Morgan – star of 30 Rock and a former cast regular on Saturday Night Live – stars in his first-ever HBO stand-up special, Black and Blue, an hour of adults-only humor told in the quirky, shocking, matter-of-fact style that has earned Morgan a place in the upper echelon of today’s most sought-after comedians. Taped before a live audience at the Apollo Theatre in New York City, the stand-up special will feature Morgan’s comedic takes on politics (including meeting President Obama), the differences between white and black culture, celebrities, our Founding Fathers, sex, superheroes and more.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1/16X9
Audio:
English Dolby Surround 2.0
Subtitles:
None
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 58 min.
Price: $19.97
Release Date: 8/2/11

Bonus:
• 7 Deleted Scenes


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

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Tracy Morgan: Black And Blue (2010)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 20, 2011)

Although the old saying claims there’s no such thing as bad publicity, the old saying’s wrong. Just ask Mel Gibson and Michael Richards; when word of their bigoted rants took flight, their careers took massive hits.

As of mid-July 2011, comedian Tracy Morgan remains embroiled in controversy due to anti-gay comments he made during a recent stand-up appearance. It remains to be seen what – if any – long-term career impact he’ll experience, but in the short-term, Morgan’s antics appear likely to have one positive effect: he should move more copies of this live DVD called Black and Blue.

Shot at New York’s Apollo Theater in September 2010, Blue gives Morgan the opportunity to touch on a variety of subjects. He gets into his growing career, aging and health, cultural and generational differences, sex and drugs, relationships, President Obama and politics, terrorism and travel, sensitivity, and a few other topics.

All controversies aside, I like Morgan as a comic actor and enjoy his work on 30 Rock. He was more hit or miss on SNL, but I think he does have talent.

Little of which shows up in this stale, unfunny stand-up routine. There was once an episode of The Simpsons in which Homer watched an African-American comedian. The segment we/Homer viewed offered trite comparisons between whites and blacks, with an emphasis on how each race drives a car.

Though he expands beyond racial topics, that’s a nutshell take on Blue. The majority of the program offers Morgan’s observations on the subjects I mentioned above, but they rarely go beyond the simple “black guys drive a car like this” territory lampooned on The Simpsons. Morgan’s humor stays firmly on the surface and never digs any deeper. He throws out simplistic, profanity-laden thoughts that lack any real bite or cleverness.

Indeed, the profanity feels like it’s there as a crutch. I’m not anti-profanity at all, but Morgan ladles on the language for no apparent reason other than to connote “I’m a black comic from the streets so this is how I’m supposed to talk”. The profanity doesn’t offend; instead, it bores and distracts from Morgan’s jokes.

Or it would if Morgan had any good jokes. I can honestly say I didn’t laugh once during Morgan’s tired routine. In fact, I’m not sure I ever cracked a smile, and I wanted to do so; like I mentioned, I like the guy and hoped he’d be fun as a stand-up.

If Morgan has talent as a stage comedian, he doesn’t show it in Black and Blue. Based on the evidence here, he should keep his day job on 30 Rock.

By the way, some of the material here foreshadows Morgan’s recent troubles. He shows antagonism toward the gay community, as he seems to view them as humorless; he declares that “if you can take a dick, you can take a joke”. Morgan also refers to Gibson’s controversies, though I doubt he realized that they’d both soon belong to the same club.


The DVD Grades: Picture C/ Audio C/ Bonus D

Tracy Morgan: Black and Blue appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this single-sided, single-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. This was an average presentation.

Sharpness generally seemed satisfactory. Wider shots tended to appeared somewhat ill-defined and weren’t as distinctive as I’d like. Nonetheless, the program mostly came across as accurate and concise since it usually concentrated on close-ups. Light instances of jaggies and shimmering occurred, and mild edge enhancement popped up. Source flaws remained absent.

Given the basic setting, colors stayed simplistic but solid. The background and lights offered decent hues that were a little messy at times but not bad. Blacks appeared reasonably deep and firm, and the occasional low-light shot seemed clear and appropriately visible. Overall, this was a watchable image but nothing more than that.

Similar thoughts greeted the Dolby Surround 2.0 soundtrack of Blue. Not surprisingly, the mix presented a modest soundfield. Morgan’s monologue emanated from the front center channel, so that speaker heavily dominated the proceedings. Otherwise, we got audience laughter and applause from the front sides and surrounds. And that was it! Virtually no music appeared in the program; some tunes appeared only at the very beginning and end of the program.

Audio quality remained positive. Speech easily became the most important aspect of the track, and Morgan’s remarks sounded natural and clear. The applause and laughter also seemed clear and accurate, and the snatches of music showed solid reproduction. Nothing exciting occurred here, but the track was fine for its genre.

Seven Deleted Scenes last a total of 13 minutes, 55 seconds. Most of these extended riffs in the broadcast program, and most are about the same quality as those in the final show; I’d assume they were cut for time. A couple of decent gags emerge, though; I actually felt more amused by this collection than anything in the actual program.

Which is more an indication of that show’s flaws than anything else. I like Tracy Morgan as a comedic actor, but if Black and Blue offers an accurate indication of his talents, he’s a lousy stand-up. The DVD offers average picture and audio plus minor supplements. The program lacks all but the most minor amusement value.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1.5 Stars Number of Votes: 6
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