The Original Kings of Comedy (2000) Poster

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9/10
is that man insane??
bunikus30 August 2006
this movie had me laughing to the point where i found it hard to breath. some jokes are risqué and a little raunchy, but then so is life. this movie can be watched safely by adults young and old as i can attest to as i watched it confidently with my mother (!) who was in tears. everyone i know who has watched it tells me stories of laughing to dangerous extremes. one friend watching it in a less than crowded theatre was concerned she might choke and there would be no one to save her! each comedian has strong memorable material that rings true. my only problem with it is finding it on the sightread in the UK, better distribution of all "black" movies please.
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10/10
Funny as ****
mi_fiona9 September 2006
If you enjoy stand up-these were certainly the "Kangs"-as Steve said:) They take you back to recall your history, childhood, life. The subjects are funny because you know people like those they mimic, or are like who they comment on! Simply this film shows us why these men have remained the top of the most funny (alive) male comedians for as long as they have. As the man above,don't try to "review" this as a movie with plot, character development, etc. Steve Harvey was the Host so his sets were throughout and he had his own later.It's a reel of a night of standup-THAT'S ALL! These men are Funny-You can see the reaction of the crowd as they get that "You know that's right" moment, or have to get up and do that "dance-laugh" cos they will have you rollin! I can watch it every time and the reaction is the same(gut laughs)-my whole family is nearly in tears watchin Ced and Bernie. These men are crazy funny fools! Just watch it and see how much you laugh...I hope you "get it"-it's just COMEDY! It was also nice to see them off-stage and see the real relationship, brotherly bonds between adult black men who have done good with their lives! Entertainment at it's finest.
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These men are hilarious!
hillari21 August 2000
The success of this tour surprised many whom were not familiar with these comedians, mainly because they are superstars on the African-American, not mainstream, comedy circuit. These men are funny as hell! The TV shows they appear or have appeared on do not give them the freedom to turn loose like they do in this film. One of the best sequences was when Harvey complained about rap and urban contemporary music (he was so right!) and gave respect to old school R&B. This is absolutely the best comedy that was released all summer.
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A Lot of Laughs
uglykidmatt20 August 2000
As a sometime stand-up comic, it was a great treat that this summer brought a big-name stand-up concert film, namely Spike Lee's "The Original Kings of Comedy". The film, a record of the highest-grossing comedy tour of all time, is not revolutionary and says nothing new about comedy or those who practice it. But it's chock-full of laughs, magnetism, and good, rollicking fun.

The concert in "Original Kings" was taped at Charlotte, North Carolina's Charlotte Coliseum, and it's a great testament to the often unfairly neglected stand-up art that comedy performers could fill such a prodigious space. The MC of the evening, who holds forth from an elaborately decorated stage set, is the WB's Steve Harvey, who has a wonderfully exasperated stage persona and a voice full of gusto as he sounds off about the stupidity of Rae Carruth, the idiosyncracies of black church elders, and the asininity of the band on the Titanic playing as the ship went down. He's got a rip-roaring sense of energy that gets the show started on a good note.

D.L. Hughley's set is perhaps the lowlight of the film. His delivery is not as punchy as that of the other performers, and unlike Harvey, he seems to use profanity as a crutch rather than as a proper comedy tool. Still, his performance has its moments, and he's likable enough that his onstage time doesn't get too dull.

Fortunately, things pick up when Cedric the Entertainer, a big, cuddly bear of a guy in a chocolate brown fedora, takes the stage. His set is the highlight of the film, full of sharp commentary about Tiger Woods, blacks on the space shuttle, and the particulars of a "ghetto wedding". He fills the stage with his expansive body language, and his silly dance interludes are among the best moments in the picture. Someone should give this guy his own TV show, and fast.

Closing things out is Bernie Mac, an abrasive, raspy-voiced, pop-eyed provocateur whose act is the most down-in-the-dirt of all the performers featured. His riffs on the virtues of beating children, the problem of living with a gay six-year-old nephew, and the importance of a certain twelve-letter-word to the black vocabulary, are sometimes more hostile than funny, but his gritty delivery and fast pace socks the best jokes home nicely. Besides, the audience in the theatre where I saw the film gave him applause at the end of his set, the only performer onscreen they did that for, so who am I to argue?

Lee's direction sometimes gets in the way of the performers, with showy camera moves that distract from the words. The film is at its best when Lee's cameraman, Malik Sayeed, just plops his camera down and lets the comics do their stuff. There are some nice reaction shots of the crowd, who are clearly having a great time, and the way that the laughter of the onscreen audience blends with that of the people in the theatre really makes you feel like you're part of the show.

"The Original Kings of Comedy" is not as great as earlier stand-up films like "Bill Cosby Himself" or "Eddie Murphy Raw", films that fell together more cohesively than this one does. Still, if you're looking for some Friday night laughs, you would be well advised to head to the theatre and hail to the Kings.
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A portrayal of what today's society thinks is humorous
mcdavyg24 August 2000
A lot of this movie was funny, but I was so disturbed by how intentionally racist these guys are. Half of the show was "White folks vs. Black folks." If these comedians want to continue rebuilding the wall of intolerance, then I hope that they aren't allowed to make any more movies. I was disturbed by what these men thought that they knew anything about me by the color of my skin. Leave the prejudice behind. One can still be funny talking about how they were raised or about how their family/friends act, but generalizing actions to an entire race is flat-out wrong. I am ashamed to say that I stayed throughout the whole movie. I am saddened by our society. And this sort of movie makes me lose hope in equality. Amen.
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9/10
Look,mommy filmed our comedy show with her camcorder.
tim-40119 August 2000
2 hours of incredible comedy from 4 incredible comedians.

Easily the best comedy showcase since Eddie Murphy "Raw", possibly since Bill Cosby's "Himself". If you have never seen these stars perform their stand-up before, you are really missing out. The only problem with this "film" is the "filming" itself. I use quotes because this movie was recorded entirely with digital cameras, which, at times, look like your mom's video tape of your 8th grade school play. I don't understand how Spike Lee can even credit himself in this movie. It doesn't take a genius to put a camera on the front of the stage and periodically pan to the crowd. (-Groundbreaking work, Spike! ) In conclusion, this is the best comedy film I've seen in years even if it does look like 1985 CBS file footage of an NBA game.
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Tomorrow's Amos
tedg17 March 2001
Some of this is very funny. And these people are genuine.

But the sanctimonious Spike Lee will be embarrassed in a generation or two as this humor is considered today's Amos and Andy. Doesn't matter that it comes from blacks. Doesn't matter if everyone thinks it is funny now.

Plus. No element of American culture is natural today, and this is especially so with Black culture. It is now in the hands of record, fashion and media companies. Spike may insist he is a free man, but he is not, and now complicit in another big company's inventing of a culture.
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3/10
We run when somebody else runs.
Andy (film-critic)23 March 2005
This was a very disappointing comedy show. It wasn't even so much the profanity or vulgar scenarios that they were discussing that bothered me (because I love Chris Rock's work so much), but instead it was more the way that these four men presented themselves and represented themselves on stage. The self-proclaimed ringleader of them all, Steve Harvey, was the worst. The fact that he didn't even have enough material to survive on stage was pathetic enough. That set the tone for the rest of the film that was not a positive tone. His cheap monologue was filled with community insults and personal insults to the audience. I know they may have been all in fun and jest, but to me it never really came across as fun. Either Harvey was upset with the audience presented to him, or he just wasn't ready for his moment on stage, but it just came across as a completely different person than I was expecting. The same can be said for all of them whom were somewhat more concerned about their image than the jokes that they were telling.

I don't know why Lee chose this project to place his name on and why he proclaimed these four to be the "Original Kings of Comedy." To me that is a bit misleading. If he is speaking about African Americans being a part of comic culture, then I don't think these were the four to best represent it. What about Eddie Murphy, Red Foxx, or even the great Richard Prior? What about Bill Cosby? There just seemed to be a self-proclaimed stigma already attached to this project before we even began it that was hurt with the opening of each of their mouths. I was not impressed by any of them. If I had one dollar to give to one of them for their performance from the evening, and was forced to hand it to one of them, it would have been Cedric the Entertainer. He just seemed the most genuine of them all. His performance on stage was honest, yet bold all at the same time. He was talking to the audience, not above them, as the other performers seemed. While I don't think he was the most liked in the audience, I did think that he was the most talented of them all.

Another huge problem that I had with this film was the cut sequences. You know, the moments that we spend talking to them off-stage about their lives and opportunity ahead. This tries to give them a sense of humanity, showing the audience this different side to them than when they are on stage, but what I witnessed was something a bit scarier. It seemed as if each was trying to grab the attention of the camera. Were we dealing with a group of camera hogs that were willing to step on anyone to get to the next level? Whether it is true or not, nothing is said to speak otherwise. While these were created to show their brotherhood, it felt more like filler delaying the inevitable consequence that we were going to go back to a sub-par routine. It was like a tease that hurt.

Overall, I was not impressed. I have seen some comedians take an opportunity like this and blow it out of the ballpark, but what I saw with this documentary were four men (possibly five if you count Spike) that just wanted the opportunity to showcase their talent. They were not interested in the audience, or in trying to actually be funny, but instead just be on television. Notice that most of them are doing well now after the release of this film, which means that something worked. I just wish that they had put the same excitement behind their work in this film. From utter confusion to just downright profanity (without a joke), these guys felt as if they were "winging it" instead of demonstrating to us the power of their trade. I was embarrassed for everyone involved, even the people in the audience, but hope that others will see this review and take heed … The Original Kings of Comedy is not worth the time or effort that you are going to put into it. If they are not willing to work to make me laugh … than why should I laugh?

Grade: ** out of *****
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2/10
I love comedy.....but this wasn't funny
tampaman2423 December 2003
I"m sorry but I am not on this bandwagon at all. There were good moments, but overall it just wasn't all that at all. I rarely laughed. MOst of it was 'humourous' but not fall out of your chair and roll on the ground funny. Don't waste your time with this. You've got better things to do.
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great fun!
Skeletors_Hood19 August 2002
This was a great stand-up movie, and it's wonderful that stand-up is coming back in this form. I have been exposed to stand-up ever since I was a little kid, and I have seen the evolution of stand go from 90 min concert movies like this one, down to 1 hour specials, and even down to 30 min specials as well. And The Kings bring back a variety show for us in the movie format, and the result is a masterpiece.

For those of you who only saw racism in the jokes, then you really weren't paying attention to what was being said, and knowing the attention span of the average American, that's not hard to believe. Did anyone notice that the WHITE people in the audience were laughing just as hard as the black? I think that it's because most of us white folks can take a joke, and understand that the comic is really playing around, without doing a "my god, that's a racist remark" defense that many people here seem to be doing. What these men were doing with comparing black and white is NO DIFFERENT than when Jeff Foxworthy compares and contrasts rednecks and sophisticated people.

Now, the fact that the comics were using stereotypes...hmmm. How do I say this? Folks, I have collected comedians for years, and my collection spans from CD's, DVD and VHS tapes. I have comedians that few people have heard of. My collection spans over both genders, different nationalities and ethnic groups, and I must say that every comedian needs to joke about something that the audience can and will understand, and stereotypes are the key thing to do just that, because everyone understands stereotypes. And besides, some comedians will even take a common stereotype and make it their act...Tim Allen used the stereotype of the man's man; Roseanne Barr used the disgruntled housewife, and Jeff Foxworthy used the redneck angle. Now, a comedian can go without stereotypes, but he/she runs the risk of losing the audience. And besides, it's not the stereotype that makes the joke, it's the exaggeration behind the joke.

And as far as the comedians in the movie here, they really strive for a good show. Steve Harvey did great jokes, and even did things, that while not really funny, were great entertainment, like when he was playing samples of different songs for the audience. Hughley was funny as well, especially when he was interacting with the audience. The other two comics I have never sen before, but I have no complaints, as they round out the show nicely. Each comic owned the stage when they were on it, and they would be hard to top. And folks, I like Chris Rock, but he wasn't as funny as these guys are, simply because he tries waaay too hard, and these guys are just here having fun.

A great performance by some great comics, and I would recommend this to anyone. A+++++
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9/10
HILARIOUS
Matt-40715 August 2000
I just got home from this flick and I loved it. Not so much a movie, but a filmed appearance of the four comedians (Steve Harvey, D. L. Hughley, Cedric the Entertainer, and Bernie Mac) at a show in North Carolina. It has been my experience that "concert-comedy"-type movies can often be boring, certainly not matching the experience of actually seeing a comedian live. This was not the case with "Kings." Granted I was in a crowded theatre, but the expert direction by Spike Lee really pulls you in and makes you a part of the studio audience. Audience reaction shots and multiple-camera angles keep the viewing fresh and "behind the scenes" peeks all offer more than simply being there live would have. As far as laugh volume, this was the funniest movie I've ever seen. It has everything: swearing, raunchy sex jokes, clever comparisons between blacks and whites, pop culture jabs, and even some "insult comedy."

Each comedian does about a half-hour of material, but you'll wish they each got an hour at least. The soundtrack is excellent as well. Well, it's not technically a soundtrack, but the songs played in the stadium at the show were a great mix of old-school love songs and funk.

"The Original Kings of Comedy" is not a movie. It is a concert-comedy piece with elements of a documentary. After a lack-luster summer of gross-out comedy flicks, it was very nice to see genuinely talented and witty word-slingers come together with a consistently pleasing director in certainly the funniest movie of the summer. Maybe ever.
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8/10
Good, but could be better
kleeriklane4 July 2004
Bought the DVD from store, sat myself down and grabbed a bag o' popcorn. Watched it and felt great. It was damn funny yet reasonably censored. I recommend it to anyone who has even a little sense of humor. Although i think that it was poorly edited. Some scenes could have been better. There was a lot static on my DVD but i guess the fault could also be in my player. I also would not recommend it to people who have weak spots in racist jokes. Every second joke was about white people and i as a 'gringo' don't like that. Besides i also would like to mention that this is a one-time-looking piece of work. Anyway i recommend it if you want to have a little laugh after work.
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8/10
How DARE they?!
Brightseat_Bully25 July 2006
"I like Black people, okay? I talk to Terrence at my job sometimes, and I even liked Urkel on 'Family Matters.' I don't understand why these particular Black guys have to get up on stage and tell jokes about race, which I understand to be racist. I don't think their jokes about Black churches or Black families are funny. It's not just because I've never experienced either, it's because I have simply deemed them unfunny. Who cares if they were the biggest selling tour in America for several years? I never heard of them, so they must not be relevant. They probably all portray drug dealers on their TV shows. I know funny. Jerry Seinfeld, Dane Cook, Gallagher and... Richard Pryor (only because he's dead) are it. These filthy negroes are NOT it. It's okay when George Carlin or Jon Stewart curse, but when these guys do it, it's profane. To sum up: Andrew Dice Clay = good, a bunch of Black guys = terrible. BONUS!!! Spike Lee is involved, so that makes it extra, EXTRA racist. Not that he wrote one word of this movie, a CONCERT film, but it just always comforts me to call him a racist because he talks about non-white things. If it ain't white, it ain't right." Sincerely, The Authors of the First Twenty Comments on This Movie
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10/10
Down right funny
hungrylee1 August 2006
Forget what the last guy said about this movie. If you're looking to pee your pants laughing, then this is the movie for you. Spike Lee is a genius no matter what anyone says. This happens to be one of my favorite movies in the world. You couldn't ask for a better line-up. I had a new found respect for each of these comedians after watching this movie. I strongly recommend you buy this movie. It is worth every penny. If I have to add any criticism, I would say that Cedric "the Entertainer" could have been a little funnier. However, he still gave a great memorable show. After watching his act, you'll understand why they call him "the enteratiner. Awesome movie no matter what the critics say.
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Hmmm...
fugu_2867 February 2002
I just had to comment on this documentary.

It is funny, but to paraphrase Ralph Wiggum, not ha ha funny. It seems most of the jokes revolved around race, drugs, sex, homosexuality and child abuse. You know, the typical amateur hour fare with African-American comedians far less talented than the insightful and intelligent Chris Rock. (I miss the Chris Rock show)The behind the scenes footage is interesting though. You do not often get to see that part of a comedy show. Like all Spike Lee "joints", it is interesting enough to watch once, although, the target demographic appears to be African-Americans. And also, turn on closed-captioning during the Bernie Mac routine. He is about as incomprehensible as Boomhauer of TV's "King of the Hill" fame. I couldn't understand a word he was saying sometimes.

**1/2 out of *****
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1/10
Spike Lee...the laughs on you!
joshualieder8 April 2001
I rented this locally for only $2 and it would have been funnier for me to watch my $2 blow away out the window on the way to pick up this filth-ridden piece of boredom. I didnt laugh once. I watch BET sometimes and have by amused by that channel's comedy shows, but if these guys are the "kings" - look out commoners, and guys as the sayin goes "don't give up your day jobs!".

A long segment making fun of a supposed homosexual child nephew and beating children with the frequent use of the "MF" swear was particularly disturbing. Not a one of these guys is funny and Spike Lee...I am laughing at you for spending time with this dreck!
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Filling the room with its own self
chaos-rampant19 April 2016
Two of the guys are a bit crude here, the first two. Harvey in particular makes me wonder because he seems to be closest to the world the jokes come from, the most genuine presence. He establishes great rapport with the audience, in turns R&B showboat from the chitlin days and church pastor. But every time I see him he's also a crotchety, country bumpkin uncle, not entirely an act this. One of the highlights is when he gets thousands of people to hoot and swoon as he reminds them of the value of love while playing old favorite songs; but frames the moment as the "good old days" by comparison to modern rap.

Bernie Mac was a bit of a cipher, in that I couldn't make head or tails of half of what he was garbling about and then he has an aggression (one of the jokes I think was about having a gay 6 year old nephew) but it seems to come from a good-natured bedrock so I couldn't tell if he was being off-putting or not. It's obvious with Harvey where similar jokes seem to come with a streak of nasty dismissal.

It was Cedric out of these 4 that stole the show for me. He's cool, an Isaac Hayes whereas everyone else were manic James Browns. All the others focus on how other people annoy, he surrounds common folly. Two of the best jokes in the whole show were his, black people running if they see someone else doing it, and black people cruising in space cars to the moon after white people if they tried to sneak out the planet.

But my favorite performance here was the whole as a give and take with this audience, the whole room as the show. It makes a world of difference that they are before an audience of their own people, the audience no less a part of what's being performed. It simply wouldn't be the same in Wyoming. It's the difference between Sam Cooke's show at the Copacabana as polite Sinatra surrogate and his Harlem appearance where all this spontaneous energy is circling the room.

People swoon and holler, dance and spontaneously get up from their seats, entered by the spirit of what's going on. There's nothing quite like being able to enter a world as it is of its own self, filling the room with itself. And there's nothing quite like seeing people enjoy themselves either - those delighted looking women in particular. There's a certain loving-kindness here that goes beyond what's being said in words. Something moving about a whole room erupting into applause when asked about god, swooning over love songs and laughing without compunctions at life.
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Gimme 52 cents on Pump 1
tieman6418 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Spike Lee directs "The Original Kings of Comedy", a concert film recorded at the Charlotte Coliseum, North Carolina. Playing to a massive crowd of about 24,000, four African American comedians – Steve Harvey, Bernie Mac, Cedric the Entertainer and D. L. Hughley – each deliver half hour segments of material.

The film's best routine is arguably delivered by Bernie Mac, who spends 25 minutes essentially advocating that we all cave in to the Id, to do and say as we please, to speak our mind, to not bow to social convention. Gradually, however – and the audience is giggling too hard to notice this – Mac's jokes stray into abusive, twisted and violent territory, before he tells a joke about a misunderstanding between a child, a bus driver and a mother. The audience cackles at this joke, not realising that it's revoking and calling you to re-evaluate everything that went on before.

Visually the film is conventional, though Lee does places a larger emphasis on audience members than is typical of such concert features. His cameras stay close to the crowds, and he uses an abundance of audience reaction shots to heighten the levels of intimacy between performer and public. Ironically, "The Original Kings of Comedy" bolsters the kinds of African American stereotypes Lee's films tent to critique and destabilise.

7.9/10 – Worth one viewing.
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5/10
Okay funny
campblood136 August 2003
The comedy was okay, with Bernie Mac being the funniest. I liked the way the film was put together, and it showcases these four comics in a great light. Steve Harvey, DL Hughley, and Cedric all seem to have the same style and average jokes. 5/10 Average
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The Kings are the Kings.
dannyboy577019 August 2000
I saw the a preview of this film in Ottawa Thursday night and it was so very, very funny.

The crowd was small, about 60, and with 3 exceptions, white like me. There were 20, I counted them, walk outs.

I had no intention of leaving. I have seen tons of stand-up and this left me breathless.

The only thing for me, a white Canuck very far out of the loop of urban US black culture was the fact that I did not get a lot of the stuff. But, even with that said, I got enough that I will go back, I will buy the movie, and I will watch it on a regular basis until my dying day.

Dan Shields, Ottawa.
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Not "Kings", that's for sure.
elz97814 April 2001
I am a big fan of Def Comedy Jam and BET Comicview, both of which were/are almost always laugh-out-loud funny, and I was expecting "The Original Kings of Comedy" to be just as hilarious. Well, that wasn't the case. If you rent this movie, do yourself a favor and just fast-forward to the last act, Bernie Mac. He was definitely the best comedian of the bunch that night, since his act was based on actual comedy and getting LAUGHS, and not on playing old school songs (like Steve Harvey) and getting APPLAUSE. If I wanted to hear music, I would have turned on a radio. Anyway, Mac's comedy was a little cruel (repeatedly referring to his six year old nephew as "the f*ggot"), and your laughter may be accompanied by squirming during some parts. Overall, it's a pretty average film, and I'd give it 5 out of 10.
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It was fabulous was wondering where I can get the songs from the old school
rebeccapaula10 April 2001
I found this to be hillarious and especially liked the part about the old school. Those songs brought back great memories. If there is anyone out there who might know those songs please send me the names of the songs and the artists
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6/10
Better Off Watching the Chris Rock Show
Dougster-511 March 2001
I did not learn much about the four black comedians in the movie, and I did not learn much about black/white race relations. And the editting was quite annoying - inserting clips of audience members laughing raucously.

I suggest you stay at home and watch the Chris Rock Show on HBO if you want brilliance and insight and laughs.
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