THE PLOT THUS FAR
Over six hours of rare stand-up, television specials, guest appearances and more.
Steve Martin remains one of the most beloved and creatively prolific talents in American comedy, but until now his body of work on television has been largely unavailable on DVD. That all changes here. From the stand-up act that made him a comedy rock star (of which only two complete performances were ever recorded, both included in this set) to his four joyfully twisted NBC sketch comedy specials, his Oscar-nominated short film and a jewel box of additional comic bits, The Television Stuff finally delivers one of the most unique and treasured eras in Steve Martin’s celebrated career. Featuring special guest appearances by Dan Aykroyd, Laraine Newman, Lauren Hutton, John Belushi, Bill Murray, Lynn Redgrave, Paul Simon, David Letterman, Carl Reiner, Eric Idle and Johnny Cash
The Stand-up Specials
* On Location With Steve Martin (Live At The Troubadour, 1976)
* Homage To Steve (Includes The Absent Minded Waiter and Steve Live At The Universal Amphitheatre, 1979)
The NBC Specials
* Steve Martin: A Wild And Crazy Guy (1978)
* Steve Martin: Comedy Is Not Pretty (1980)
* All Commercials . . . A Steve Martin Special (1980)
* Steve Martin’s Best Show Ever (1981)
Bits And Pieces
Spanning 1966 to 2005, a collection of television guest appearances, speeches and music videos.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
I never knew I was this much of a Steve Martin fan. Sure, I worship “The Jerk” and “The Man with Two Brains”. It’s just that I never fully realized how much early Martin has impacted my comedy tastes. “The Absent Minded Waiter” and “Comedy is Not Pretty” have both cemented themselves among my favorite Martin performances ever. Hell, I missed getting this review up last week due to my watching “Comedy is Not Pretty” on a loop.
If you took half of the second disc and half of the third, you would have an incredible release by itself. What matters here is that Shout has hunted down all of those comedy specials that used to only exist on VHS and material that hasn’t been seen since broadcast. I know that I’m getting older, but I can still actively remember hunting down old clamshells and plastic wrapped VHS tapes from the video store and trying to piece together comedy that came before me. After I saw “Three Amigos” for the first time, I wanted to learn more about these guys. However, I kept finding myself gravitating towards Steve Martin rather than Fletch.
While I’m an easy mark for this classic material, I can see how it will turn off younger viewers. “All Commercials” requires a certain appreciation for where television lived during the 70s and 80s. That being said, this is still the Steve Martin I prefer. A guy that’s constantly an entertainer without solely dedicating himself to later life pursuits. The only downside to the set has to be watching how lackluster the guy became in later years. Some of those award show clips and Letterman appearances are rough.
The DVD comes with interviews and archival booklet. The A/V Quality is a healthy Dolby 2.0 surround mix across all of the archival material. The transfer goes up and down based on the elements that were available. Still, this is a feat that happens only once every couple of years. In the end, I’d recommend the highest priority of purchases.
RELEASE DATE: 09/18/2012