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The best reason for North Americans to buy an all-region DVD player
on 19 January 2008
The best guess as to why these aren't available in North America is some distributor's misguided idea that North Americans won't "get" the jokes, thanks to references to Syd Little, Dawn French, Chris Tarrant, and the Chuckle Brothers.
If you live in North America, do not be deterred: simply pick up a $40 all-region DVD player (I recommend the Philips one that says, "Plays all DVDs" on the box), order this DVD set from Amazon.co.uk (along with "Zidane," which will never be available here either), and be prepared laugh until you cry. At Gervais, not Zidane.
The order in which to watch these is the order in which they were released: Animals, Politics, and Fame. Animals is funny, Politics is funnier, and Fame is one of the best comedy DVDs I've seen. It truly rivals some of the best, Chris Rock included.
Highlights include Gervais' take (he calls it "a lecture") on:
- The Richard Gere urban legend, featuring a great act-out of Gere stroking a "nervous" hamster;
- A British anti-rape ad campaign ("What kind of society has to remind people not to rape?");
- His religion teacher, who says that "all the laws of the land are included in the Bible" (Gervais asks: "video piracy?");
- How a conversation between the first man with HIV and the monkey who gave it to him might've played out (given the choice between admitting to having sex with a monkey or eating a monkey, both man and monkey agree: "I ate 'em.").
Arguably, the best bit is Gervais' recounting of a taping of X-Factor, where he witnesses Sharon Osbourne repeatedly insult and humiliate TV presenter Chris Tarrant.
Gervais will be taping an HBO special in New York this July, so a North American DVD can't be far off. Let's hope he doesn't feel the need to Americanize his approach, because as these DVDs prove, he's funniest just being himself.