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An HBO special edited from three performances from Chris Rock's 2008 comedy tour: London (dark suit, dark shirt), Johannesburg (black suit, white shirt) and New York (shiny jacket). Topics include the ongoing presidential campaign, the possibility of a black president, George W. Bush, gas prices, low-paid jobs, ringtones and bottled water, sex, relationships and the correct use of the n-word. Written by
Peter Brandt Nielsen
unsettling editing, at first, but there's some of Rock's best stuff here
At first I thought the poster was like a chart of where Chris Rock had been performing, two of the three places for the first time (London, New York, South Africa... HBO). As it turns out, this is actually the method to the shoot of the show: edited together from three concerts in each of the areas listed, Rock goes through his material and sometimes a bit is inter-cut within an actual sentence (for example, Rock says the point of view from London, then New York, and maybe South Africa here and there). This technique is a little jarring, but only for a short while. Once it becomes part of the actual gig filmed, it's a successfully unique presentation by way of a special that tries something different.
But the real reason to check out Kill the Messenger is because after four HBO specials (there may have been one half hour one I can't recall from the early 90s), Rock hasn't lost it in his timing or killer deconstructive language or point of view that remains barbed and ready to attack just about anyone: white or black, republican or democrat, male and female, job or career, everything is up for grabs and everything he presents is sharp and hysterically funny. And unlike Never Scared, his previous special, his bits on racism here aren't possibly watered down or not quite as sharp; if anything there is a particular bit on the "N" word that is an excellent dozen-years-later companion piece to "Black People Vs N*****", with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to hear when a white person can actually say it! It's loaded with insight and wit, from John McCain to Flava Flav to when to use properly contexted words, to just what goes on in a relationship and how difficult it pretty much always is. Bottom line, don't miss it, if you're a fan you're in for a welcome treat, and newbies will get knocked out.
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