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Columbia Music Video presents
Robin Williams有ive on Broadway (2002)

"Is it me, or are cats drag queens?"
- Robin Williams

Review By: Brian Calhoun  
Published: December 22, 2002

Stars: Robin Williams
Director: Marty Callner

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (strong language, adult humor)
Run Time: 01h:41m:00s
Release Date: November 19, 2002
UPC: 074645517797
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Though Robin Williams has been focusing more on dramatic film roles lately, he still remains one of the funniest comedians around. After a 16-year hiatus, Robin Williams有ive on Broadway marks his long awaited return to stand-up comedy. He appears to be reveling in every minute of his routine, performing like a kid on a sugar high who has been let loose in a toy store. For nearly two hours he delivers his exuberant style of comedic intensity with a passion, energy, and charisma that left me exhausted from just watching him.

Filmed at the Broadway Theater in New York City, Live on Broadway is an intimate look at the work of a neurotic genius. In addition to his impeccable brand of physical comedy, Williams offers his satirical viewpoint on just about any subject imaginable, from drugs, to sex, to foreign affairs, and several topics that I dare not mention here. His deft style of comedy pointed out that it is possible to find humor in just about anything. A less skilled entertainer could have easily crossed the boundaries of good taste with this brash material, but Williams fearlessly prances along this fine line without faltering.

By the end of this frenetic show, Williams has carefully led his audience straight into the heart of a finale that is guaranteed to have even those with severe humor impairment crying tears of laughter. Though this is masterful comedy from start to finish, take full notice of the "Parental Advisory" warning label. Far and gone from his Mork and Mindy days, Williams' material is about as adult-oriented as it gets; anyone who finds profane language and impure subject matter offensive just might keel over from a heart attack. Those not easily offended are encouraged to sit back, relax, and prepare to be taken on a sidesplitting journey of laughter. Live on Broadway is a masterful performance that finds this "dramatic" actor back in the comedic groove.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The 1.33:1 image transfer is smooth and blemish-free with minimal video artifacts. The blue, black and purple background never appears harsh or noisy and is very pleasing to the eye. The many close up shots of Mr. Williams show a tremendous level of detail. This is not the type of presentation one typically critiques for cinematography, but the cleanliness of the picture certainly added to my enjoyment of the concert.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Live on Broadway features a fantastic Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Williams' voice is firmly locked in the center channel, which consistently displays a natural tonal quality. His words are always intelligible and his voice remarkably clean, even when he is spouting out indecipherable grunts. The most impressive element is the use of the rear channels. The crowd envelops the listener courtesy of convincing split surrounds that made me feel as if I was seated in the audience. This is a compelling soundtrack that delivers with stunning realism.

Also available is a PCM stereo track. While its inclusion is nice for those without 5.1 setups, anyone with the capability should by all means listen to the 5.1 soundtrack.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 17 cues and remote access
2 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extra Extras:
  1. Noises
Extras Review: While the main feature is stupendous, the special features are undoubtedly lacking. First is an interview with Robin Williams and Live on Broadway director Marty Callner. The two have a lengthy discussion focusing on their working relationship. Their conversation is both funny and insightful, yet a bit too long for what it is worth.

Next is a glimpse at Robin Williams backstage before the broadcast. It is a humorous delight to watch the quirky comedian prepare himself for his mile-a-minute performance. He proves to be as goofy off stage as he is on stage.

Also included is a section entitled Noises. This feature is a deftly edited two-and-a-half minute montage of Williams' vocal grunts, tics, spasms, and screams that he spurts off during the show. Though brief, this is an hilarious extra and a worthy companion piece to the main feature.

Be sure to also look for the Parental Advisory easter egg. This is much like the Noises feature, but instead focuses on Williams' frequent onslaughts of curse words.

Extras Grade: C


Final Comments

As one who does not typically purchase stand-up comedy DVDs, I can wholeheartedly recommend Robin Williams有ive on Broadway as a purchase. The madcap comedian delivers his hysterical material at such a frantic pace that repeat viewing is not only recommended, but also mandatory.


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