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Like many, between Def Comedy Jam, Friday, and many other movies, I found myself laughing my behind off watching Chris Tucker in the 90s. However, after spending an hour and a half watching his comedy special, I have come to the conclusion that maybe the reason why he hasn’t released a comedy special of this length is simply because he isn’t good at it. More below.
Review (with Spoilers) – Below
Characters & Story
It has been awhile since Chris has done stand up, and it seems that this special is all about catching up on all that has happened and more since then. He starts off talking about dating and marriage, goes on about sex, moves onto money issues, and then transitions to talking about Michael Jackson and impersonating him. From there he goes into money once more, then talking about his life growing up, his father, his older brother, and also his father. Leaving the last bits dealing with impersonating Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
Though I only found myself laughing 19 times, mostly in the earlier parts of the movie, those 19 instances were completely genuine laughs. Not the kind I got from his Def Jam days, in which I was heaving and gasping, but good enough to understand why the man got a comedy special, and Netflix paying for it, despite him being rather reclusive in recent years. With that said, the best jokes really came from when he was doing social commentary vs. him talking about his family or famous people. For in these moments, it didn’t seem like he was trying to recapture the magic which made him famous, but more so he came with a plan, wanted to present possible new angles to things, and he had some sort of story he wanted to tell.
Unfortunately, though, for the rest of his special it seems he wanted to remind us of his hey day of meeting presidents and hanging with Michael Jackson, as well as problems which came from him being rich and having everyone, from family to the IRS, asking him for money. In these moments it seems Chris got a bit lazy and with it being 2015, jokes dealing with Michael Jackson seem old, and with him covering Michael in both his movies and Def Jam specials, him going on about how Michael loved the beat in rap music didn’t lead to many funny moments to me.
Though the issues didn’t end there. Toward the end of the special he goes into impersonations of Bill Clinton and Obama, and while his impressions were OK, his perceptions of both presidents didn’t really inspire any laughter and made me truly wonder if Netflix perhaps added a laugh track to the movie.
But when it comes to the comedy special’s issues, perhaps the biggest thing is that he would drag out a joke, or beat a good one to death. I mean, granted, I am not a standup comic, but between watching the great Richard Pryor, to comedians like Louie C.K., it is hard to really enjoy someone like Chris Tucker who relies on doing the same style which made him famous, yet not committing to challenging himself besides the challenge of getting up on stage after being a movie star for so long.
Overall: TV Viewing
When it comes to comedy, often times what is or isn’t funny is subjective. After all, I got a Seth MacFarlane movie as something worth seeing, and this labeled as TV Viewing. However, there is a difference between movies and stand-up specials for with movies there are multiple hands in the situation and various personalities to try to work with to make something comical. With comedy specials, though, it is one on one and intimate. Meaning it can easily become like joking with your friends, listening to a crazy old aunt or uncle, or else witnessing the class clown in action.
As for Chris Tucker, he certainly fits into that class clown category for while he can be comical and amusing, after a while you get used to his jokes and the ways he seeks to keep or get your attention. Leading to many stale jokes, or him dragging a joke past its prime, and making it seem that he is definitely rusty. Still, even with a few pitfalls here and there, Chris Tucker proves he can still make you laugh. Now, whether he may hit his stride or not, that depends on whether he keeps at it or just does this as a one-off special.