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Nick Di Paolo: Raw Nerve (DVD Review)

17 Dec, 2011 By: John Latchem

$14.98 DVD
Not rated.

It’s kind of a surprise that Raw Nerve is Nick Di Paolo’s first stand-up comedy special. Best known outside of the stand-up circuit for his appearances on the Comedy Central Roasts and shows such as “Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn” and “Red Eye,” Di Paolo has been around for a while, even if he may not have cracked the upper echelon of stand-up comedy.

The absolutely hilarious Raw Nerve, which aired on Showtime earlier this year, proves there’s no reason he shouldn’t be counted among the elite. There’s no over-arching theme to this hour-long special, just one observation after another as Di Paolo steers the audience through a variety of topics that are typical of stand-up subject matter, such as marriage, race relations and the generation gap. His acerbic style comes across a bit like a refined version of Lewis Black, without the manic gesturing.

Early in his set, Di Paolo tackles the inherent silliness of those charity drives that occur at sporting events that base donating money on how many home runs are hit in a game (“’Got a kid from the Make a Wish Foundation. Billy, what’s your last wish?’ ‘I don’t know. Can we get a designated hitter in the National League?!’”).

But he’s only warming up, as he soon turns his attention to childhood obesity (“I was at a hotel in Los Angeles … hanging out at the pool … the nicest pair of tits I saw was on a 14-year-old boy”) before tackling the requisite political material.

Di Paolo provides a perspective you don’t get from most entertainers, such as when he skewers political correctness by framing the abortion issue in terms of why football games use female sideline reporters.

The only extra on the disc is a four-minute backstage featurette in which Di Paolo discusses his influences and other thoughts about the industry.

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