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A personal compilation selected by the Irish comedian himself; the video features clips from his popular TV series.
When Dave Allen passed away in March 2005, we lost a true comedy great. Sitting cross-legged on a high stool, whiskey in one hand, cigarette in the other, Dave Allen's exasperated commentaries on the absurdities of modern life struck a chord with millions of fans in Britain, Ireland and Australia for over four decades. He was a compelling storyteller -- able to spin shaggy dog stories out of the almost any subject, including the missing tip of his fourth finger of his left hand, for which he provided various unlikely explanations. But his gentle, laconic wit could also give way to ferocious attacks on the media, the state and, most famously, the Catholic Church. He was a unique talent -- a comic who could make his audiences laugh, cry, and be shocked, all in one. Here he is with his personal choice of sketches, gags and monologues. --This text refers to the DVD edition.
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It's not that I don't like the finished product. I really enjoyed the clips on offer and for a fiver it's decent value for money. You get a flavour of the style and irreverence that made Dave Allen worth watching and there is an evenly balanced mix of the stand ups and sketches that made the show so successful in the 70s and 80s. It is inevitable that some of the material has dated somewhat, but it is not as un-PC as you would come to expect. In fact, save for one moment where a comedy explosion has left the victims covered in soot which leads to a Black & White Minstrels routine of sorts, it's not in the least bit offensive. Even the thorny subject of religion was treated with a good balance of satire and gentle humour.
I've been a fan of Allen's style for as long as I could remember - He was such a natural raconteur, genial one minute, rabid the next but always fascinating to watch. For those who have never seen him perform, this is recommended as it stands above most shows broadcast during this period.
However, my only gripe (and it is a minor one) is that you only hear him say his customary goodbye `may your God go with you' at the end in his latter years as he is sat a mixing desk looking back over his own archives which lacked the cutting edge and broodiness of his earlier performances. Even the absolutely fantastic theme tune isn't played until the end and it is poorly edited.
So to sum up, it's a good intro to a great performer and good value for a fiver. Let's hope that the BBC see fit (or even get Network DVD to acquire the licence) to release a more comprehensive retrospective of Dave Allen's work. It's sad he is no longer with us, it would be even more sad if his legacy remained overlooked.
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