Partly co-created by Adam Carolla and Jimmy Kimmel, "Crank Yankers" has been a fairly long-running series on cable channel Comedy Central. The show revolves around crank calls placed by various celebs (Kimmel, Wanda Sykes, Tracy Morgan, Sarah Silverman, David Allen Grier, Patton Oswalt, Robert Schimmel, Gilbert Godfried and others) to real people. However, instead of merely being recorded, we see puppets reinact the situations. Not only are the puppets often hilarious, but the sets behind them are remarkably well-done.
However, the question remains - is it funny? While I haven't gotten into the series throughout its run, I did find some moments to be hilarious. There are calls that run into ridiculousness and begin to fall apart (despite the show's disclaimer that the calls are real, some people start to seem awfully stupid for not hanging up). While I wasn't totally sold on the show after watching this DVD set, the detail that goes into the production is pretty impressive and while some bits don't work at all, others are either amusing or hilarious.
Given that this "best of" release is being offered after two full seasons of the series have been released, I can only guess that the studio is trying to see what kind of interest there is in the series before releasing future seasons. Although this "best of" probably isn't what fans were hoping for, it is a pretty extensive (and uncensored) look at the best of the series so far, with 58 skits (well, "calls") in all. Still, it's disappointing to not continue to see full seasons of the show.
There are some terrific skits here - oddly enough, the first and last are particularly good. The opener is a bizarre and delightfully twisted puppet music video for Tenacious D (actor Jack Black and Kyle Gass), where Black's puppet gets in a bizarre bear fight. The last skit features rapper/actor Ludacris calling his manager to talk about his plans for a complete change - including a very different name. Another highlight includes puppet Adam Carolla and puppet Dr. Drew doing a version of their radio show and trying to get their guests to describe bigger and badder problems to make a better "best of" for their show. There's also Batman's nemesis calling 411 to get Batman's number.
The program also includes many of the skits from favorite characters such as Hadassah ("Hadassah Calls a Lingerie Store" and others), "Spoonie Luv" ("Spoonie Luv Orders Roses" and others) and Special Ed ("Special Ed Needs Support", "Special Ed Wants to See a Movie", "Take Ed Out to the Ballgame") and others (including Bobby Fletcher, Chip Douglas, Niles Standish and Gladys.)
This is an uncensored release.
VIDEO: "Crank Yankers" is presented by Paramount in the show's original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. The picture quality is essentially equal to that of the broadcasts, with only a few minor concerns. Sharpness and detail are perfectly fine, as detail is generally good, with only a few moments where the picture appears softer. Some compression artifacts are occasionally noticed during some scenes here-and-there, but the picture is otherwise free of such issues. Colors are vibrant and well-saturated, with no concerns.
SOUND: The stereo soundtrack remained crisp and clear throughout, presenting the dialogue and sound effects well.
Final Thoughts: I've never been a big fan of "Crank Yankers", but this "best of" continues to have me feeling the show is uneven - there are some hysterical skits here, but some that fall flat. Paramount's DVD edition provides fine image and sound quality, but nothing in the way of supplements. It's very disappointing that fans aren't getting another full season set, but maybe if this title sells well enough, the remaining seasons will be put out on DVD.