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20th Century Fox presents
Paul Rodriquez: Live in San Quentin (2004)

"You see everything in prison. You see Black, White, Brown, Asian. You know what you never see? You never see anyone from India."
- Paul Rodriquez

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: May 05, 2005

Stars: Paul Rodriquez
Director: Allan Karton

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mature humor)
Run Time: 00h:56m:43s
Release Date: May 03, 2005
UPC: 024543183013
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B- D-B-B- C+

DVD Review

I know that comedian Paul Rodriquez must be popular in some circles, because he crops up in enough places that it seems to say he must appeal to someone. My take on the guy is that he plays the ethnic angle a bit too broadly; that as he grew more successful he simply kept playing down to his audiences by lobbing out stereotypical jokes about "Mexican girlfriends," earning himself a niche that just doesn't connect with me.

In Paul Rodriquez: Live In San Quentin (originally broadcast live on HBO back during the O.J. trial days), the comic does his one-hour set in front of residents of the infamous prison, and understandably peppers his act with lots of jailhouse jokes that might have been funny had I been incarcerated. But since I'm not, I was simply bored by his attempts to connect with his live audience, as he tried to make himself appear "street", as if he just got done serving a long sentence himself. I don't know the guy's past, I don't really care to, but it just comes off as phony and unnatural here.

The topical humor comes off understandably dated, with chunks on the O.J. trial, Newt Gingrich, and John Bobbitt, though the jabs at Michael Jackson could have possibly seemed relevant if he hadn't prefaced them with "Don't nobody think about Michael Jackson no more." Obviously I can't fault the guy for making references then to things that aren't exactly headline news today, but if they were funny it would be another story. The humor is simplistic, the punchlines aimed low for maximum efficiency, and the substance is dreadfully hollow.

I normally love a good standup act, but I could never find a hook to tether myself to with this set; I just can't relate to "black mama/mexican mama" jokes. The captive audience seemed to love his act, though, and Rodriquez appeared to have forged some bond between him and the inmates. Good for him.

It just doesn't seem all that funny to me.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: D-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Nothing remarkably good or bad about this transfer, with decent color rendering marred by some consistent grain issues. Image detail comes across rather soft for the duration, but it's hardly a detriment.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: Audio comes in the form of a 2.0 stereo track that delivers clear voice quality, which for a standup disc is about all your really concerned with. Nothing fancy, but acceptable for the material.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Big Black Comedy Show
2 Documentaries
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: If you like Rodriquez, you'll probably like what's here. Paul Rodriquez Behind Bars (34m:28s) is the comedian's first San Quentin gig, and to me it was just another half hour of the same kind of unrelatable humor. San Quentin Remembered (38m:52s) is where Rodriquez gets philosophical, looking back on his prison shows with an air of seriousness that goes on way too long. We get it: you played at a prison.

The main set is cut into 12 chapters, with optional subtitles in English or Spanish.

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

I don't claim to get Paul Rodriquez's brand of ethnic-tinged comedy, and this performance really didn't do anything to win me over. Unrelatable prison humor and dated references litter his one hour set, and the addition of some preachy "what a hard life they have" rambling went nowhere with me.


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