Janeane Garofalo: If You Will Review

It’s been over 10 years since Janeane Garofalo took the stage in a solo performance, and a lot changes in a decade. Garofalo covers issues she never has previously in If You Will, ranging from the Internet to Starbucks to the Tea Party Movement.

She is certainly no stranger to polarizing an audience, not afraid to speak her mind, and quite frankly be blunt about any topic she chooses to focus on. It keeps her performance tightly wound, wasting little time for the audience to even absorb some of her quick jabs.

That’s something Garofalo does on stage, insert those quickly forgotten, big word heavy lines that are easily passed over, but hilarious if you’re paying attention. She makes few excuses for the large art pad she brings on set, loaded with notes for her routine, even inserting it as part of the act for a few laughs.

Some of this material writes itself, including a priceless stint with Homeland Security and traveling abroad. As she reads the questions off the green card, which explicitly want to know if you’ve been involved with spy activities or have drug addictions, the show picks up some life after a bit of a sluggish start.

As If You Will dives into politics, a certain segment of the populace will find her material patently offensive, although that same group probably should have picked a different show to begin with. The comparisons are funny, and it all leads into a wonderfully tasteless segment on Natalie Portman’s absolute perfection.

The show itself is rather sluggishly edited, with zero shots of the crowd laughing, the camera always placed far behind her or right in front. It’s repetitious and bit boring in terms of visual flair, but it’s only an hour so it doesn’t have much time to become dull.

Movie ★★★★☆ 

Image offers a 1080i AVC encode that struggles with the digital source throughout. The lack of a 1080p presentation causes significant problems, Garofalo’s glasses carrying some notable aliasing when in motion, and her Universal Studios shirt is filled with small “US” logos that smear and flicker at a distance.

Worst of all is the compression, almost certainly the source material as no Blu-ray has ever held the level of mosquito noise seen here. At times, Garofalo seems swarmed by artifacts, and background awash with dancing blocks. When some light smoke enters the fray, forget about it. Everything collapses under the weight of this lackluster source material.

Any distance shot, again generally behind Garofalo, makes the audience appear murky and soft, the lack of definition on display rather inexcusable. It’s hard to make out anything past the first few rows. Fine detail is never noted, close-ups producing nothing to take note of beyond the wholly digital, flat appearance.

Colors are bright and vivid, that neon pink shirt Garofalo is wearing certainly standing out against that dull brown backdrop. Black levels are also quite rich and deep, although almost nothing survives their crush in those long shots.

Video ★★☆☆☆ 

The DTS-HD mix is at least an improvement. As she walks on stage, the audience cheers effectively in the surrounds and stereo channels. These are distinct channels creating an effective, convincing theater environment. Specific cheers and adoring fans can be made out in well prioritized surrounds, while the slight echo is prominent.

The front soundstage is powerful, the center always clear and precise enough to keep Garofalo prominent amongst the laughter. Her dialogue is natural, carried by an enveloping effect that creates a convincing layer of realism the to the audio.

Audio ★★★★☆ 

Two extras are on the disc, both of them turning into skits, around 11-minutes total. One concerns pets, the other dealing with her politics, and both look utterly awful in terms of video quality.

Extras ★☆☆☆☆ 

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For more information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.