Bill Cosby has only allowed cameras to record his stand-up comedy twice before, and one of those concert films has never been on DVD. So it’s a real treat to see that 76-year-old Cosby is as hilarious as ever in a new performance disk that has just been released on DVD and Blu-ray.
“Bill Cosby … far from finished” (Comedy Central/Paramount/Blu-ray, 2013, $19.99, featurettes). Cosby’s natural, we’ve-all-been-there style is as sharp as ever in this hilarious stand-up set, actually culled from two concerts performed before live audiences.
When he was young, Cosby did routines about his childhood and later about being a young married man and then about coping with young children — and now he’s talking about marriage in general, along with other life experiences, and he’s as relatable and hysterically funny as ever.
I especially liked his comparison to marriage and a game of chess: The Queen can go wherever she wants; the King just sits there. My wife and I nodded knowingly and laughed out loud frequently during the 90-minute show. And we also enjoyed his sit-down interview with director Robert Townsend in the bonus features.
This is one we’ll be recommending heartily and watching again ourselves. (Also on DVD, $16.99)
“Mystery Science Theater 3000: 25th Anniversary Edition” (Shout!, 1990-98, five disc, $64.99, four episodes, two bonus episodes, three-part documentary, featurettes, trailers; four mini-posters). Collectors of this funny show — about characters in space making snarky comments as they watch bad movies — know that the main four episodes here have never been on DVD before, two being from the Joel era and two from the next generation hosted by Mike:
“Moon Zero Two” (1969), about land grabbing on the moon; “The Day the Earth Froze” (1959) a dubbed Finnish film with witches, magicians and a gold-making machine; “The Leech Woman” (1960, b/w), in which a woman must kill men to remain eternally youthful; and “Gorgo” (1961), sort of “Godzilla” crossed with “King Kong,” as a prehistoric creature stomps through London.
And the bonus episodes are transitory shows that have long been out of print, the last to feature Joel and the first hosted by Mike: “Mitchell” (1975), with an overwrought Joe Don Baker as a rampaging cop taking down a drug cartel, and “The Brain That Wouldn’t Die” (1962, b/w), about a crazed scientist searching for a sexy body to attach to a disembodied head he keeps alive in his lab.
“Murdoch Mysteries: Season 6” (Acorn, 2013, four discs, $59.99, 13 episodes). Detective William Murdoch is sort of a groundbreaking CSI cop in Toronto in the early 20th century. This season concentrates on romance for both Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) and Constable Crabtree (Jonny Harris). Helene Joy and Georgina Reilly co-star as their lady loves, a pathologist-turned-psychiatrist and a coroner, respectively. Young Winston Churchill (Thomas Howes) makes an appearance, along with Arthur Conan Doyle (Geraint Wyn Davies), a recurring character. (Also on Blu-ray, same price).
“Impractical Jokers: The Complete First Season” (Warner/TruTV, 2011-12, two discs, $19.98, 17 episodes, deleted scenes, audio commentaries, featurettes). This hidden-camera comedy series follows The Tenderloins, a four-man improv-comedy troupe, as they try to out-humiliate each other in public situations. Each segment has one of the four interacting with unwitting strangers as the other three feed him lines and tell him what to do through an earpiece. If practical jokes are your thing, this show’s for you.
“Photo: A History From Behind the Lens” (Athena, 2012-13, two discs, $49.99, 12 episodes; 12-page booklet). Documentary series explores the history of photography and where it’s going. Episodes include “Surrealist Photography,” “The Inventors,” “Experimental Photography of the 1920s,” etc.