Long Story Short [Blu-Ray] Jerry Seinfeld

Long Story Short [Blu-Ray] Jerry Seinfeld
SNL alum Colin Quinn recently developed a stand-up routine focusing on the observation that, throughout history, empires have fallen due to some of the same characteristics that we exhibit in our (Western) culture today. His friend, Jerry Seinfeld, suggested he expand the routine into a proper one-man show, and then came on board to produce and stage direct. Quinn's Long Story Short enjoyed a successful run on Broadway, and now comes to Blu-Ray. Quinn paces back and forth on a minimal stage set composed of a diminutivem faux-Roman amphitheatre while a series of stills and short videos run behind him on a mounted screen as he speaks. The aesthetics are rightly kept to a minimum, since it's the content of Quinn's performance that takes centre stage. He runs briskly through the major highlights in human history (cavemen, Rome, the dark ages, colonialism, etc.) in order to demonstrate the degree to which humans have always, somehow or other, managed to ruin things by acting like selfish, violent idiots with no foresight or generosity whatsoever. Most of the jokes are very sharp, observant and definitely funny. Quinn's knack for impressions and accents is put to good use, as he impersonates the particular downfall of every civilization in that culture's mannerisms. The show, however, runs a little long when watched at home (or has too many extensively drawn-out gaps in the humour to inspire patience). Maybe the energy of the live performance was enough to keep audiences engaged in that milieu. Still, every time you think you've lost interest enough to stop watching, Quinn delivers a knock-out joke that calls the attention right back to him, and in the end, the Blu-Ray is worthwhile viewing. The special features include a "Behind the Scenes" feature, in which Quinn and Seinfeld talk about the particular difficulties of presenting the entire history of the world in one tight, densely packed comedy routine (should it be done chronologically? Geographically? Will too many "facts" confuse or distract the audience?). The disc's commentary, by Quinn and Seinfeld, runs alongside the muted footage of the show, although it has almost nothing to do with the show itself. In fact, the commentary is simply Quinn and Seinfeld telling jokes and making funny observations about, well, anything (Seinfeld: "why do we call it 'email' when it has very little to do with the actual 'mail?'"). In a sense, the commentary is really just a comedy routine set between the two veterans (and a funny one at that). Quinn is in top form, as his intelligent and sarcastic take on world history is so equally critical of every society and every civilization that it cannot possibly be construed as anything but a fairly accurate assessment of the familiar, yet persistent, global problems we still face today. (VSC)