The Original Kings Of Comedy

on August 18, 2000 by Tim Cogshell
   There are several measures of a comedy concert film. For instance, there are the predecessor films, like those of the brilliant Richard Pryor, the talented Eddie Murphy and the ebullient Martin Lawrence. By that measure, "The Original Kings of Comedy," featuring actor/comics Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, D.L. Hughley and Bernie Mac, is a pretty good movie. Another yardstick is the pervasive comedy klatches that populate late night television, including re-runs of The Caroline Comedy Hour, Def Jam and their ilk. By comparison, "The Original Kings of Comedy" is a very good movie. And then there are the seemingly endless HBO comedy specials, including those of Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres, Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle, just to name a few. They have the attitude of a theatrical comedy-concert film, but without the big audience and 20-foot-high screen, it's not quite the same, thus making "The Original Kings of Comedy" that much better by contrast. Of course, the best gauge of a comedy-concert film is how hard the audience laughs. If you are in an audience that finds four comics doing fairly similar jokes about race relations, growing up poor, sex, sexuality and bathroom activities funny, then "The Original Kings of Comedy" will measure up as a very good movie indeed. Suffice it to say, what's "funny" is subjective. Starring and written by Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley and Bernie Mac. Directed by Spike Lee. Produced by David Gale and Walter Latham. A Paramount release. Comedy/Documentary. Rated R for strong language. Running time 117 min
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