In Comedians Of Comedy: Live At The Troubadour, Andy Kindler sarcastically kvetches that it's great to finally perform at a venue thrillingly devoid of chairs, elbow room, places to put your drinks, and space to breathe. It's a smartass acknowledgment that the move from comedy clubs' two-drink minimums, tragically unhip '80s vibe, and unmistakable aura of desperation to rock clubs' sweaty, back-pain-inducing discomfort comes with a new set of hassles. The shift in venues has much to do with attitude and audiences as well: Fans of Comedians mainstays Patton Oswalt and Zack Galifianakis are more likely to check out an indie band at The Troubadour than shell out $40 to see a Tonight Show regular play Señor Ha Ha's Laughatarium.
Troubadour documents for posterity an epic night of stand-up that unites many of the country's top chuckle merchants for folks who've committed at least one Mr. Show or Monty Python skit to memory. Maestro Patton Oswalt immediately establishes a geek-friendly tone with an inspired riff about the Star Wars prequels delivering the franchise's most satisfying elements in the least satisfying way. The acts that follow combine big names (Galifianakis, David Cross, Sarah Silverman) with lesser-known but equally vital acts, from the Sybil-meets-Mel Blanc stylings of Maria Bamford to the deadpan genius of Eugene Mirman, whose vicious takedown of a hacky MySpace band would be unforgivably mean if it weren't so damned funny.
Troubadour also boasts an epic yet wholly justified 134-minute running time. For most stand-up DVDs, that would qualify as entirely too much of a good thing, but the scary fact about Troubadour is that it could easily be 15 minutes longer: A lot of great Oswalt material ends up in the special features, especially a scathing dressing-down of a hapless heckler. Oswalt is the rare conceptual mastermind who arguably errs on the side of including too little of his own material in his collaborative projects. Kindler needn't worry: The genius of putting Troubadour out on DVD is that it provides all the funny of a historic comedy evening with none of the aggravation of actually leaving home.
Key features: Hilarious additional stand-up and less-than-hilarious behind-the-scenes material.