the review site with a difference since 1999
Reviews Interviews Articles Apps About

Paramount Studios presents

The Queens of Comedy (2001)

"Skinny women are evil and they need to be destroyed."- Mo'nique

Stars: Miss Laura Hayes, Adele Givens, Sommore, Mo'nique
Director: Steve Purcell

MPAA Rating: R for strong language and sex-related dialogue
Run Time: 01h:19m:05s
Release Date: 2001-02-27
Genre: documentary

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer


DVD Review

Following the success of The Original Kings of Comedy, it was only a matter of time before the female comedians received their chance. This stand-up concert comes from a show at the Orpheum Theater in Memphis by the The Queens of Comedy, four talented women with plenty of things to say. Unfortunately, their material lacks enough originality to flow through the entire length of the film.

Miss Laura Hayes serves as the emcee of the show, and she exudes an impressive stage presence that keeps the crowd with her throughout her jokes. Unfortunately, most of them just aren't very funny. Hayes does give an enjoyable representation of her parents' attitude toward their kids. Her opening monologue also contains an interlude at a hair salon that is unnecessary and seems tacked on to this type of show. She receives a limited amount of screen time, and really isn't given too many chances to strut her stuff.

Much of Adele Givens' set contains a positive message towards women about being themselves and having respect. Her set is the most consistent throughout, and it does feature a few creative moments. My favorite is her take on TLC's No Scrubs and several other hits. She states that after they went bankrupt, they definitely weren't "too proud to beg." Givens has her moments, but overall the set is only mildly entertaining. Much of the material is fun, but it lacks that extra creative punch to make it hilarious.

The third performer is Sommore, a smaller girl in a crazy, low-cut black outfit. She speaks in a raspy voice and exudes a rough demeanor on stage that contrasts with her behind-the-scenes attitude. Her material is crude and appears designed to shock the audience with plenty of sexually related topics. Sommore is an original performer, but her set grows boring fairly quickly. There are a few highlights, including a clever comparison to marriage as an amusement park and words on how men need a side-effects label.

Mo'nique takes the stage for the final performance, and her opening words crackle with energy and silliness. To put it mildly, she's a large woman, and her material immediately speaks about the positives of big women. Her demeanor consists mostly of yelling and screaming to the breaking point, and then pulling back with a smile. This is not just for the act, as the backstage footage reveals a similar boisterous personality. Mo'nique does spend some time discussing the difference between blacks and whites in terms of arguing. Overall, her performance does contain the most energy, but it can't hold up for 26 minutes. The words focus mostly on the intricacies of larger people, and they grow tedious long before the end.

The comments in this film are directed mostly towards women, and this probably alienated me from some of the humor. The material focuses mostly on sex, and while that is fine, more variety would have helped the film. This feature draws obvious comparisons to The Original Kings of Comedy, an exciting, hilarious film that covered numerous topics of everyday life. Often during this movie, I wanted to see these talented performers trying different avenues of comedy. Instead, they remain fairly one-dimensional, and it hurts the energy of the show. The Queens of Comedy contains some funny moments, but it lacks the comic diversity to keep me interested throughout a feature-length film.

Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: C+


Image Transfer

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

Image Transfer Review: The full-frame transfer for The Queens of Comedy works well enough in presenting the concert film, but it contains nothing spectacular. The visual quality resembles a basic television comedy special, and while I noticed no major defects, the colors lack any special qualities. The footage of the queens strolling through Memphis resembles a home video with its amateurish look and bland colors. It does have a certain appeal, and the picture is clear, but it's not much above average.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: This disc offers a choice between a 5.1-channel Dolby Digital transfer and a 2.0-channel Dolby Surround track. The differences between the two audio tracks is minimal, and barely discernible without close inspection. This film is composed almost entirely of dialogue from the stand-up routines, so the capabilities of the sound field aren't really utilized. Both tracks do provide plenty of clarity to hear all the jokes, and that's enough for this movie.

Audio Transfer Grade:

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 11 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Deleted Scenes
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Soundtrack promotional spot
Extras Review: The only significant extra feature on this disc is 10 minutes of deleted behind-the-scenes footage. The material includes scenes backstage, at a hair salon, radio show, photo shoot, and during random moments on the streets of Memphis. All four women have a nice connection with each other, and display their energetic personalities throughout these moments. However, this material is fairly dull, and offers little insight into the backgrounds of the stars. Additional concert footage would be a nice addition here. The material included is enjoyable, but it lacks any moments of great interest.

Extras Grade: C

Final Comments

Miss Laura Hayes, Adele Givens, Sommore, and Mo'nique all have excellent stage presences and interesting personalities. Each one has some humorous moments, but the overall result is only mediocre. The material is too one-dimensional to create classic comedy, and it suffers as a result. The Queens of Comedy give it everything they have, but the final product comes up short in terms of hilarious comedy.

Dan Heaton 2001-02-22