The Original Kings of Comedy | Chicago Reader

The Original Kings of Comedy

This record of one stop on the “Kings of Comedy” tour focuses on the audience at the Charlotte Coliseum on February 26 and 27, 2000, as emphatically as it focuses on the performers—comedians Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley, Cedric the Entertainer, and Bernie Mac. Footage shot from over their shoulders reveals a sea of faces out of which individuals quickly emerge, as the comedians—especially emcee Harvey—enthrall and provoke audience members, several of whom are singled out as objects of mockery in a way that also demonstrates deep respect. Harvey and his fellow performers may not be able to see everything beyond the footlights, but what they say and do onstage is motivated by an awareness that performing is at its heart interactive, an awareness director Spike Lee shares. With the help of cinematographer Malik Sayeed and editor Barry Alexander Brown, who establish distinct visual modes for the presentation of each act, Lee performs magic. He's preserved and expanded the experience of an adrenaline-pumping, uproarious night of racism-, classism-, and sexism-subverting humor by showing the perspectives of everyone there, including the four other magicians onstage. 117 min.

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