It’s hard to believe it’s been 7 years since we’ve last seen a Dave Attell stand-up comedy special. Yeah, do the math, it was 2007 when Captain Miserable was released. It’s a very long time for hands-down one of the best comedians in the game to produce something he’s so incredibly great at doing. While he’s had some projects in the time between, the stage of a comedy club is where Dave Attell shines brightest. It’s a giant flaming ball of crude, rude, cringe-worthy, and devastating stand-up. Did you expect anything else?
Road Work is the best representation of the comedy and style of Dave Attell we’ve seen to date. Past Attell stand-up specials have seen him suited up in a well-lit theater telling jokes. Road Work strips away any formalities and tapes Attell working where he’s best, in comedy clubs on stages close to the crowd where he can talk to them, hear their reactions, and toss out in-the-moment tags to jokes. There’s a sped up flow to the special, which benefits Attell and his rapid-fire delivery. Exaggerated with the club location changing every 10 minutes or so (perfect for commercial breaks). It’s also shot guerrilla style, with a few cameras, including one on stage that Attell often bumps into and interacts with, there’s a shaky audience camera and as Attell states at the beginning of the party, it’s a “filthy, dirty mess of a show.”
As previously mentioned, Attell filmed Road Work in comedy clubs. Five actually, different ones throughout the US – Philly, New Orleans, Minneapolis, and Chicoopee, MA. He kicks things off in New Jersey’s Stress Factory with an introduction by the club’s owner Vinnie Brand. Chris Rock attempted a similar feat with his 2008 special, Kill the Messenger. However, Rock went wrong trying to use large venues, Attell got right by heading the opposite route by using tight and claustrophobic comedy clubs and camera work to speed up the storytelling.
From there, it’s a dizzying run of sets as Attell guns on about sex toys, masturbation, and how he was beaten by his father as a child. The entire flow of Road Work is a back and forth of Attell going on the offensive with jokes about special needs kids jokes as he equally tries to get the women’s thoughts on penis size. The crowd is at the same time laughing and groaning when Attell slips in the reminder of, “they’re just jokes people.”
Road Work could be easily dubbed Crowd Work, as the crowd is just as important to this special as documenting the life of a road comic. Attell has plenty of killer material on Road Work, but at he seems to almost rely on that only when there’s nothing in the audience that piques his interest, flawlessly flowing in between the two. It’s a must see special for any fan of comedy. Not since 2003’s Skanks for the Memories has Dave Attell been captured so perfectly in his uncensored and hilarious element.
Road Work is currently available for only $5 on CC: Stand-Up Direct. It’s the best five bucks you’ll spend all week.
If you can’t get enough Attell, you must set the DVR to tape his new late night stand-up special, Comedy Underground airing uncensored every Saturday night.