'Thou Shalt Laugh 2: The Deuce'


Thou Shalt Laugh … some more."Thou Shalt Laugh," last year's comedy DVD featuring clean routines from Christian comedians, has spawned a sequel: "Thou Shalt Laugh 2: The Deuce." This time around, comedy legend Tim Conway replaces Emmy-winner Patricia Heaton ("Everybody Loves Raymond") as the host. "The Deuce" features five comedians as opposed to the original's seven. Returning from the previous DVD are Thor Ramsey and Taylor Mason. Newbies include Dan Nainan, Bone and Victoria Jackson--yes, the Victoria Jackson from "Saturday Night Live." Conway is much more adept at hosting than Heaton proved to be, and most of Conway's best stuff comes in his introduction to the evening. He jokes about his childhood in Ohio and his belief that his parents "were sharing an IQ." Thor Ramsey is the first comedian to take the stage. Unfortunately, he was funnier in the first installment than he is here. Dan Nainan, an engineer-turned-comedian, follows Ramsey. Nainan, whose father is Indian and mother is Japanese, trades mostly on ethnic and racial jokes. Some of the biggest laughs of the evening come from his analysis of how different sports are inherently racist. You'll never think of bowling the same way again.… Victoria Jackson and her ukulele are up next. She tells blonde jokes, recites poetry while standing on her hands, and manufactures humor about being married to a cop. Her finale, involving that ukulele, is simultaneously weird, goofy, brilliant and touching. Bone Hampton--just call him Bone--works the crowd like a funny T.D. Jakes. He even jokes about it. He offers more jokes about race, ethnicity and gender, and his energy is second only to that of Taylor Mason, who closes out the evening. The DVD's producers, Jonathan Bock and Hunt Lowry, definitely saved the best for last. Mason combines comedy, ventriloquism and piano playing into superb entertainment. His set is by far the longest, and half-way through you simply realize this guy is an entertainer par excellence. He's got a pig puppet named Paco, a dummy named Romeo, hands that tear up a piano and a magnetic sense of humor. He's even better this time around. Mason knows how to build emotion in a routine, work a crowd, develop a rhythm. "Thou Shalt Laugh 2: The Deuce" definitely belongs to Mason, who actually won the grand prize on "Star Search" in 1991. The DVD also offers a featurette, "Thoughtful Musings on the Ten Commandments," in which the five comedians riff on this weapon in the culture wars. There's no altar call in "Thou Shalt Laugh." It's just not that kind of Christian product. A couple of the comedians refer to their faith in Jesus or make otherwise generic remarks about being a Christian. And a couple of comedy bits stem from Christianity: an "irregular" Bible from the Dollar Tree, getting a text message from God, and the like. About the most direct reference to any sort of evangelism is when Victoria Jackson wonders if she ever shared Jesus with her "Saturday Night Live" friend Phil Hartman, who was murdered by his wife in 1998 as part of a murder-suicide. The wonder hangs in the air for a second or two, and then it's on with Jackson's wonderfully weird ukulele performance Cliff Vaughn is culture editor for EthicsDaily.com. MPAA Rating: Unrated. Reviewer's Note: There are some jokes about breast implants. Director: Phil Cooke Cast: Tim Conway (host); Taylor Mason; Victoria Jackson; Thor Ramsey; Bone Hampton; Dan Nainan.

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Tags: Cliff Vaughn, Movie Reviews, Thou Shalt Laugh


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