..

CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER:  STARTING LINEUP

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Cedric the Entertainer, Roland Powell, Juan Villareal, Tony Luewellyn, J.J.
Director: Leslie Small
Audio: English Dolby Surround
Video: Standard 1.33:1
Studio: Urbanworks
Features: See Review
Length 70 Minutes
Release Date: September 17, 2002

"Now that he's moved to Harlem, that lets me further know, Bill Clinton hadn't revealed his true self yet. It'll be a few years from now…like an episode of Scooby-Doo. He's gonna pull that mask off, and it'll be Kurtis Blow up under there."

Concert ***

I had first caught a glimpse of the comedy stylings of Cedric the Entertainer in the rousing comedy concert film The Original Kings of Comedy. Cedric's performance was one of the highlights of the show, only to be exceeded by that of Bernie Mac. Cedric is enlightening in the way he compares the days of old school to the times of today. Most of his comedy is driven by the differences between blacks and whites, which is a perfect subject for laughs in stand-up. Cedric's stab at former President Bill Clinton always got a chuckle out of me, as he dubbed Clinton the closest thing America will get to a black President. Now, the Entertainer has brought his original comedy flava to this new DVD exclusive, The Starting Lineup Platinum Series.

Recorded live at the Biloxi Grand Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi, Cedric serves as the show's emcee, as he brings four additional comics to the stage. Cedric opens the show with a funny take on music, politics, television, and church. His take on music includes statements about women getting a yearly anthem about how men do them wrong, and how men just gotta sit there and take it. He also has a funny bit on rapper Mystikal as he advises the hot-tempered rapper to deal with his anger management issues. Cedric also explains why the sultry R & B trio Destiny's Child irritates the life out of him.

The best part of the show has to be Cedric's take on politics, starting off with a slam on George W. Bush ("And the W. stands for 'WHAT', 'WHEN'."). He then goes on to give a shout out to the favorite President of the black people, Bill Clinton, of course, and how he is so close to being black with little hints like playing the saxaphone, smokin' weed every now and then, lovin' the ho's, and especially stealing the furniture from the white house.

Along with fellow comedians Roland Powell, Juan Villareal, Tony Luewellyn, and J.J., this comedy concert presentation is a very exceptional laughfest, though it seems to fall short of such recent stand up classics as Kings of Comedy and especially Robin Williams: Live on Broadway, but offers some good and much deserved laughs in its 70 minute running time.

Video ***

This is a videotaped presentation, so for the most part the picture is decent, but could've been so much better if shot in another form. With the picture focus on Cedric and his comedian lineup, the presentation is good enough for capturing the atmosphere of a live show. It's as good as it needs to be, nothing more, and nothing less, well, maybe just a lil' bit less.

Audio ***

The 2.0 surround sound track offers just the right amount of sound range between Cedric on stage and the audience in the background. The rear stage will pick up occasionally, but with a 2.0 track, you won't get it often. The voices of the comedians are as clear and crisp as they need to be in this presentation, which is all and all a well suited form for a routine stand up gig.

Features **

Included on the disc is some bonus footage, and trailers of other Urbanworks offerings.

Summary:

Cedric the Entertainer showcases his unique comic talent, along with 4 other up and coming comedians in this earnest stand up offering. Fans of the very funny comedian, like myself, will no doubt get their money's worth.