Comic Relief 2, which appeared last November on HBO, was the second annual mini-telethon for National Health Care for the Homeless Projects. This tape, pared down to two hours from the original four, includes at least snippets of material by most of the program's major performers (much of what was cut came from documentary footage on the homeless). It moves fast and is entertaining despite an inordinate amount of pointless, look-what-a-rough-type-l-am obscenity-most obnoxiously by Robin Williams, who hardly needs to resort to that kind of stupidity, and Marsha Warfield. Elayne Boosler talks about Roman Catholic dictates against surrogate motherhood: "Good thing they didn't make this rule before Jesus was born." Richard Lewis relates that he had to go to a penis-awareness clinic after having trouble with his girlfriend: "I would get into bed. She would mentally dress me." Dudley Moore and Peter Cook reprise their classic sketch in which a one-legged actor shows up to audition for the lead role in a Tarzan film. And Paul Rodriguez muses about how Michael Jackson decided he wanted to try to buy the body of the Elephant Man: "Is Michael Jackson walking around his palace, and he goes, That corner, I just don't know—a palm tree, a couch, an end table. Naaah. A dead guy! Yeah!'" A few billed performers—among them Justine Bateman, Michael J. Fox, Alan Thicke and Dabney Coleman—only make brief speeches encouraging donations. Whoopi Goldberg, who with Williams and Billy Crystal originated the first Comic Relief in 1986, makes only a token appearance. The tape's distributors promise to donate a portion of its proceeds to the homeless program but don't say how big a portion. Why is that? The tape itself includes an address for contributions to be sent direct: Post Office Box 22008, Los Angeles, Calif. 90040. (Axon, $59.95)

Allen has had his moments of pretension in recent days, but these too-brief 49 minutes are a hilarious reminder of what an innovative force he was in television's early years. Taken from episodes of his weekly variety show from 1956 to 1961, the tape includes foolproof guest shots: Jimmy Durante demonstrating his bizarre (and undeniable) charm singing Inka-Dinka Doo; an aging Abbott and Costello still able to make their "Who's on First?" routine seem fresh; Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks knocking out a 2,000-year-old-man bit; Bob Hope lampooning the even-then Renaissance-pretender Allen: "Go back to your dressing room and write another book. You have about three minutes. You may finish the symphony too." But there's also an early appearance by a couple of Jim Henson's Muppets, including Kermit the Frog as a female, and a slightly frenetic one-man skit by a youthful Johnny Carson. Allen, appearing in contemporary footage only briefly to introduce the segments, also points with justifiable pride to his regular company—which included Don Knotts, Pat Harrington Jr., Louis Nye, Tom Poston and Bill Dana—and cues up a still-funny "Man on the Street" sketch. He forgot to include one of his show's running catch phrases, so anyone who wants to know how Steve's bird is will just have to write and ask him. (Video Treasures, $9.98)

The comedians in question—Shelley Berman, Jackie Gayle, Jackie Vernon, George Gobel, Henny Youngman, Norm Crosby and Carl Ballantine—may be young at heart, but this 77-minute tape suggests they are old at sense of humor. Hosted by David Brenner, it was shot at a 1984 Laguna Beach, Calif., concert. Crosby does his tired malaprop bit, thanking the audience for greeting him with an "ovulation." Gayle, probably best known for his acting performance in Tin Men, does a routine that leans a little heavily on a mincing gay put-down. Gobel rambles on about a performer in North Dakota whose act involved catching a pig that jumped off a platform. The best moments, however, come offstage, where the comedians sit in an anteroom, getting made up and dressed and trying to top each other. Berman's onstage segment (mostly about getting a popcorn kernel stuck in his throat) will seem painfully lame to those who remember him as a sharp-voiced, sharp-minded social critic in the '60s, and he seems to be the designated target of his peers. When he says about Youngman, "He just said something that wasn't funny," Youngman snaps back, "How would you know?" Offstage, Youngman has a certain Jabba the Hutt quality, rousing himself only to put somebody down. At one point Brenner interjects, "Henny hasn't talked in two minutes! Feel his pulse!" Somebody should preserve this tape as a record of the long history of nervous (Gobel excepted) Las Vegas lounge comedy. Not much of it seems funny anymore though. (Paramount, $29.95)