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Each One Gets Worse and Worse

Author: (oxblood) from United States
29 December 2012

This is the fourth volume of Shaquille O'Neal's comedy jam, this time filmed in Orlando, Florida. If you've been keeping track of the episodes, you know that the first comedy jam with host Cedric the Entertainer, the unpredictable Tommy Davidson, impressionist Aries Spears, "around the way" dude DeRay Davis and the now famous Kevin Hart was a major success, all around hilarious and really set the bar high for the series. Unfortunately this series seems to get worse and worse with each new edition. I'd call this volume IV the "B" grade Comedy Jam because none of these guys are really that well-known outside of the urban comedy field (other than SNL's Jay Pharoah) or all that funny. And unlike the previous installments where the host is at least funnier than most of the team, here host Gary Owen seems to come off as weak a link as the lesser known talents here. I mean come on. This is supposed to be an ALL STAR comedy jam. Most of these guys are more like scrubs of comedy.

Gary Owen is that "white guy" comedian who tries to relate to black audiences by pandering rather than being himself like Ray Lipowski or Big Jay Oakerson who are also popular with black audiences and are extremely funny. Owen's schtick is annoying and IMHO, condescending and minstrelsy but he's still a favorite among the Def Jam set, which is surprising because he not funny at all here. In fact, its painful to watch him here try to elicit lukewarm chuckles from the audience who seem to be laughing and applauding more out of courtesy and politeness than entertainment. Trust me, if he had performed this routine on Showtime at the Apollo instead of Shaq's All Star Jam, He would have gotten booed after the first 7 seconds and Sandman or Omar would have chased him off the stage.

After MC Owen's monologue and introduction, "Saturday Night Live" ensemble player Jay Pharoah is first up and provides impressions of rappers and other black celebs but seems to be courting an ass whupping with personal attacks on Jay Z and family and Charles Barkley. Not a smart idea for a guy whose not really even that funny. But his impressions are "dead on" especially his mimicking of Denzel, Eddie Murphy and Bernie Mac. Maybe he should stick to voice-overs after his SNL stint is over.

Lil Duval is kind of a bad boy wanna-be comedian who brings a lot of n-word-isms, foolish ignorance (he wears a sparkly miniature commode on a chain Flava Flav-style) and foul language to the stage. At least he's a little funnier than Pharoah and Owen but he starts to fall short after awhile when his routine collapsed into the same ol' tired urban sex jokes that are funny for about 30 seconds. Nothing really that original.

Next up is Tony Roberts. Roberts has been in the game for awhile now. Has been featured on Def Comedy Jam, ComicView and has had his own HBO special. I didn't know any of this though I had heard his name before. So I went into his routine on Shaq's jam totally unprepared. He was definitely the funniest comedian of the night on this volume. His style was quick and frenetic and he kept his routine fresh by not falling into the trappings of a barrage of curse words or relying totally on sex jokes.

Capone is the veteran of the night. He's also been in the game for awhile and is the best known comic on this night (though Pharaoh is gets more exposure because of his current tenure on SNL). I expected him to be funny. He's got great delivery. Capone was definitely funny but his skit falls short near the end as he descends into overwrought sex talk and telling a tedious story which requires some audience participation in a chant. The history of this series of Shaq's is that the closer is the funniest comic. Well, he wasn't as funny as Roberts but he was still better than the other three.

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