Experience the show that quickly became a national phenomenon, and get an up close and personal look at Kevin Hart back in Philly, where he began his journey to become one of the funniest comedians of all time. You will laugh 'til it hurts.
Taraji P. Henson,
Will 'Spank' Horton
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I saw this together with a show by Chappelle and had to marvel at the contrasting ways of presenting a self that you surround with jokes and how that creates the room.
Chappelle is laid back and slick, floats around in bemused observation, makes fun of what he knows to be the case; when he talks about racial disparity, it's without real surprise (for him or, he's pretty sure, for you) at what's going on in streets he knows.
Hart by contrast is over-eager, loudly crashes around from one situation to the next, makes fun of attitudes via making fun of how he looks, suburban rather than inner city; the recurring joke is that he's short and scared of macho thuggery but will indulge the role if he thinks he can get away with it.
Chappelle only sporadically puts himself in the thing, lets out of himself, whereas Hart is intensely about how the world confounds him and conveys that pull with manic hysteria. Only part of that is what comes out his mouth, the rest is in his body, face and how a narrator presents himself.
What I mean is that one of the funniest jokes here is about his family embarrassing him as a unit. Coming from Chappelle's mouth (or worse, Seinfield) who coolly floats around it would register as a bit callow and smug; coming from Hart it's a riot because he's already put himself in the world as an embarrassment to himself and to his wife.
So it's a bit one-note; he's short and not heroic. The gag with a vengeful ostrich or the story about white rafting in Tennessee that reveals an incidental indifference to human beings (both racist and not) are the kind of thing that is years in the making and meticulously prepared for you. But notice when you watch this how smoothly he slips into a character who slips.
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