“He’s out there…”
Harland Williams (Dumb and Dumber) has been a mainstay on the televised stand-up circuit since 1995. And now comes Harland Williams: A Force of Nature which changes up the old stand-up formula by transporting Harland to the desert on top of a hill. No audience. No laugh track. Nothing but nature around him. It’s a bold move that puts the comedian out there to succeed or fail on the force of his jokes alone. It’s honestly more than a little bit hit-or-miss. Relying on voice impressions and his A Night at the Roxbury loose neck and limbs to bolster to his routine, Williams manages to get some laughs during his observations on human life. Especially humorous is his “Do you know” bit which finds the comedian comparing cauliflower to broccoli and marshmallows to ghosts. While this isn’t a laugh-a-minute set Harland Williams: A Force of Nature surprised me with how often I did crack up. It’s worth viewing for the change in routine alone.
Another thing which surprised me was the audio. Shot entirely outside, there was more than ample opportunity to lose the audio to the ambiance. While you can hear the wind, it’s mere background with the dialogue track sitting loud and proud. You never lose any of Williams’ material, which is an impressive achievement for the setting. The video too is well above par. I expected this to be a guerilla shoot with loads of unfiltered, hand-held footage. Instead it’s well-produced and boasts nice color timing and an impressive lack of grain. Overall the technical specs were above average.
The lone special feature is a brief interview clip.
If you’re a fan of Williams, you’ll definitely appreciate this offering. Give credit where credit is due, not too many comedians would be willing to strip everything away like Harland does. There’s no audience energy to fuel him, no laugh track to punctuate the punch lines, nothing but Williams himself. For the most part it works though, like with most stand-up sets I think you can get away with streaming versus a purchase unless you’re a die-hard fan of “corned beef.”