Greg Giraldo is most widely known, along with Jeffrey Ross, as arguably one of the top two comedians who rips apart everyone from Flavor Flav and Bob Saget to Pamela Anderson and Joan Rivers on Comedy Central’s regular roasts. In his stand-up special Midlife Vices, though, Giraldo lets loose less on people than on more whimsical topics, and the result is every bit as side-splitting and delightful.
Recorded in front of a raucous hometown crowd in New York City, and new to DVD, Midlife Vices is a worthy follow-up to Giraldo’s amazing debut CD, Good Day To Cross a River. Giraldo has a stage demeanor that, unlike a lot of comedians, doesn’t ooze either anger or neediness; this allows his mood and delivery to shift more naturally with the tone and tenor of the material, conveying bewilderment when he’s digging into the innate ridiculousness of some unspoken rule of dating, or agitation when he’s shifting gears into more of a rant.
Giraldo’s choice of material, too, is wide-ranging. Unlike many comedians, he doesn’t necessarily “pre-sort” his topical assaults through the filter of a single, immovable personality, so there’s a genuine sense of gleeful surprise when he bounds from the political arena and talking about the energy crisis into a discussion of koala bear sex. While overt political statements aren’t part of his main agenda, Giraldo does get into the 2008 election and talk interestingly about coded campaign language, which is something in which I have a specific interest. He also makes points in roundabout fashion, as when he launches into a dissection of homosexuality by saying both that “there’s a certain level of gayness that seems a choice,” as well as, “Discriminating against gays seems stupid, because it’s not a choice — just like I don’t choose to be attracted to women, that’s just the way I am. And it sucks, because it means basically every 10 years or so I have to give away all my stuff and move out.”
Midlife Vices is a rangy title, with Giraldo touching on everything from obesity in modern children (“You aren’t supposed to be winded when you’re 9 years old and on flat ground”) to peanut allergies and the craziness of texting, as embodied by the problem of accidentally sending messages to the wrong people, like his mother. He also relates an anecdote about a group of homeless a capella guys he recently saw, and wondering how they met. Other objects that feel the burn of Giraldo’s ire include Obama‘s cessation of smoking, the uproar over Michael Phelps’ bong shots, and a rastafarian audience member who falls asleep in the third row during his set. One of the rare comedians of his age (he’ll be 45 next year) who can get away with both lowbrow and highbrow humor with equal, matching grace, Giraldo is far less well known than he should be. Give his Vices a spin; the vicarious thrills and naughtiness will likely do you good.
Housed in a regular plastic Amaray case with two snap-shut hinges on the inward spine, Midlife Vices comes to DVD presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, with a 2.0 stereo audio mix. Bonus features consist of a 22-minute installment of the revolving comedian serial Comedy Central Presents, featuring a bit leaner Giraldo from 2000, as well as the never-before-seen pilot for a sex-centric show called Adult Content, with Giraldo as its smirky emcee. A bit more backstage or behind-the-scenes stuff would have been a nice touch, but the hour-long feature presentation more than carries the day. To purchase the DVD via Amazon, click here. A- (Concert) B- (Disc)