Video Librarian ~ October *** (three stars)
Living and Laughing with Cancer
A Comedian’s Journey
Just as Rodney Dangerfield uses the “no respect” motif in his stand-up, and Dennis Miller the politick shtick, the gist of comedian Dave Fitzgerald’s routine is based on his experience with cancer. But don’t expect too much sturm und Drang from this affable jokemeister who, when told by doctors he needed a new bladder, requested one big enough to last through The Godfather Trilogy.
The video features Fitzgerald (now in complete remission) doing stand-up material on his illness-and getting big laughs from an audience consisting mostly of cancer patients-as well as interview footage taped at The Comedy Connection in Boston. Still photos of Fitzgerald’s hospital stay and homecoming illustrate his narrative, and give the video a personal touch. While hospitalized, Fitzgerald heard the mantra “laughter is the best medicine” being dutifully recited (but not actually dispensed). His mission was clear: Not only would he mention the unmentionable, he’d crack jokes about it. The video in total-monologue, conversation, photographs-is crafted as encouragement for cancer patients, who, Fitzgerald feels, can probably use a dose of humor from someone who’s been there.
Viewers (ill and well) are likely to bond with this raspy-voiced Everyman, for there are no pretensions or false notes in his message, just a survivor telling his story with a get-well-soon video. Aud: P. Recommended. (W.Pierce)