Shout! Factory has proven time and again throughout 2012 why it is one of the leaders in home entertainment. With releases of so many classic Nicktoons and even the entire original G.I. Joe series alongside the release of the horror classic, They Live, and so many great music releases, one can only wonder what Shout! Factory will do next to top itself. What to do? What to do? How about a triple disc DVD box set profiling the early career of entertainment legend Steve Martin? Bingo!
“Steve Martin: The TV Stuff” is the latest release from Shout! Factory’s stable of top notch releases. Anyone who is a fan of this veteran comedian/actor/musician/author (heck, just call him a jack of all trades), will find this to be an invaluable addition to their own home library. The triple-disc set follows Martin’s career from 1978 – 2005. While audiences won’t find much in the way of his work on Saturday Night Live, they will love seeing his 1978 stand-up act taken from HBO archives. This nearly hour-long performance is funny. There’s no arguing that. But audiences should also know that it isn’t meant for younger audiences due to language and other content. That aside, it’s still a great piece of nostalgia for any comedy fan or fan of Martin himself. Some of the best moments in this performance include his banjo playing and his magic (yes, magic) act. On a similar note, audiences will really enjoy the commentary included on each disc.
The commentary included on this first disc of the set includes some history from Martin himself. He explains how he eventually came to work in front of the camera versus behind it. He explains that he originally wanted to be a magician when he was growing up. That would account for the addition of the little magic act in his original 1978 stand up set. He also adds some interesting other tidbits such as how he started his early television career writing for very famous television shows including: The Smothers Brothers, Sonny & Cher, and The Cher Show. There’s even mention of where is now famed bit with the fake arrow through the head came from. Each disc contains its own commentary from Martin. This is just a tiny sample of what audiences can expect. And as this reviewer has pointed out so many times before, factors such as this are more proof of the importance of bonus features on DVD’s and blu-rays. This is one of those cases where the bonus commentary adds so much more to the entire viewing experience. So kudos once more to Shout! Factory for this inclusion.
His 1978 HBO stand-up act and the commentary are just a couple elements that make this box set enjoyable for any Steve Martin fan. Also included in the set are his NBC television specials. Those specials include many of the skits from throughout the years that he’s done. Fans will love the likes of “Turtle Boy.” And hearing country legend Johnny cash discussing astrophysics with Steve in his Steve Martin Variety Show skit is hilarious. There are even appearances by Martin’s SNL cast mates in one of his later TV specials.
“Steve Martin: The TV Stuff” may only be comprised of three discs. But in those three discs, Shout! Factory has managed to compile so much footage from Martin’s career. Whether it be the skits, the interviews, the standup material, or even the bonus commentary by Martin, this triple-disc set is a wonderful retrospective on his career on the small screen. The new set will be available in stores and online tomorrow. It can be ordered direct via Shout! Factory’s website at http://www.shoutfactorystore.com.
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