Rich Kronfeld DVD review [Stand Up!]

Film / Video Reviews
Rich Kronfeld DVD review [Stand Up!]
Sep 13, 2002, 23:02

RICH KRONFELD Factory Accident SexDVD

While Minnesotan culture might appear friendly to those of us “not from around here,” the flip side of that coin is a Byzantine network of social customs nearly as elaborate and severe as those of the English class system. Like England, the land of 10,000 Lakes' uptightness provides fertile soil for singular eccentrics like actor/comedian Rich Kronfeld. Perhaps best known to non Twin Citians as the die-hard Star Trek fan driving his Captain Pike vehicle down Minnehaha Parkway in Trekkies, or near-psychotic MC Wally Hotvedt on Comedy Central's Let's Bowl (cancelled, but occasionally still viewable at wee hours), Kronfeld's genius is creating characters so wound up in social norms that they resemble flies swaddled in spider's silk, thrashing away in their death throes. He's a contemporary of the Mystery Science 3000 gang, and should have a cult following at least as big as theirs. But it's one thing hearing psychopathic one-liners coming from the mouth of a cute robot, and another hearing them come from Kronfeld's pursed lips. Seeing him portray Dr. Sphincter, an oily prude with an angry core, twitching as his forehead drips with flop sweat, isn't what I'd call a cute experience. But Kronfeld is hysterically funny, and like Andy Kaufman, you're not quite sure where the character leaves off, and the comedian begins.

My main problem with this particular DVD is one that really can't be fixed. The sampling of clips from Trekkies and Six Days in Roswell is enough to send you back to the movies. But the local TV shows where Kronfeld made his name, Tightline with Dr. Sphincter and the cable-access version of Let's Bowl, are represented mostly by montages. There are bits of great sketches, but they're frustratingly short. But, thank God the entire “Green Giant and Little Sprout” in its entirety is present. Read by Dr. Sphincter, it's a hilarious, cutting swipe at the brand-besotted land of General Mills and Target Corporation, laced with plenty of homoerotica and violence to get the good Doctor's wheels a'turnin'. I'm not going to say these are minor quibbles, but flaws and all, the very fact Stand-Up! managed to get as much material as they did makes this project unbelievably worthy. Let's hope the petition drive to get Comedy Central to release its two seasons' worth of Let's Bowl episodes (viewable at catches a sympathetic eye. And maybe some future volumes may be in the cards? [Stand Up!]

-Cecile Cloutier

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