Four jokers and a stool
The Original Kings of Comedy
Review by Ross Anthony

This Steve Harvey-hosted comedy concert flick props up D.L. Hughley, Cedric the Entertainer and Bernie Mac on a Charlotte, NC stage. (BTW, It's directed and produced by Spike Lee at Four Acres and a Mule.)

Shot on videotape, the image quality suffers (the center wide shot blurring these comics faceless). Still as the humor heats up, it's easy to forget about this technical shortcoming.

Director Spike Lee, on the up and up, cuts up these stand-up cut-ups nicely with backstage and "just hangin'" shots of the quick to quip quartet.

The first half of the film coasts with no big laughs, but Cedric's appearance on the stage steps up the pace and the funnies. Then Bernie Mac's aggressive almost terrorist humor will be sure to get you rolling - unless you're a PC person. Mac is so "in your face," perhaps when TV/Cable finally overcomes their fear of him, he'll have his own show called "The Bernie Mac Attack."

Oddly enough, the topical nature of these four occasionally overlaps. Especially noticeable the subject of "old school music" vs. hip-hop rap culture and the phenomenon regarding events in which white people die in masses, but black people never do. Highlights include: Hughley's observation on while white people are always looking for something exciting to do ... black people find regular things exciting enough ... like "pulling out my wallet without getting shot forty one times," Harvey's impersonation of rappers, Cedric's re-write of "Redemption Song," And Mac's school bus ride.

Sex and cussing are repeated motifs. In fact, the film ends on Mac's "MF" injected monologue (which by the way, isn't as funny as the school bus bit). But despite the obscenities, a small segment on the "old tunes" being all about "love" gives the entire piece an overall warm heart.

  • The Original Kings of Comedy. Copyright © 2000. Rated R.
  • Starring Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley, Cedric the Entertainer, Bernie Mac.
  • Directed by Spike Lee.
  • Produced by Walter Latham, David Gale, Spike Lee at MTV/Paramount/Latham/Four Acres and a Mule.


Copyright © 2000. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:01:23 PDT