Comedian Kevin Hart’s ‘Irresponsible’ funny but incomplete

April 29, 2019 — by Kevin Sze

On April 2, comedian Kevin Hart returned to the stage to do what he does best: stand up comedy.

Hart is known to make people laugh through his extremely popular comedy specials, and his sixth one, titled “Irresponsible,” is no different.

The special is exclusively on Netflix and took place in London’s sold-out O2 Arena.

The show features much of the raunchy humor Hart is known for and revolves around the moments Hart has failed as a parent.

Hart quickly launches into jokes about sex, using facial expression and impersonations to evoke laughter from his audience.

The first half of the show flows seamlessly, featuring jokes that put Hart’s vulnerability and insecurities center stage. He discusses being caught cheating, having to deal with his daughter’s first period and talking with his son.

Although some of the details are a bit graphic, his jokes all fit into the broader theme that show Hart has good intentions. He sometimes goes too far in his jokes (as the show suggests), but ultimately he is able to get away with it because he means well.

However, as the show continues, the storyline begins to lose structure — leading to it feeling incomplete — as Hart jumps quickly from one story to the next.

Hart jokes about his guard dog’s behavior during a robbery; the dog hid instead of actually helping his family. He then jumps to another topic without explaining what he did during the robbery, leaving the audience confused.

Hart also talks about his trip to Japan with a few friends where despite being notoriously scared of roller coasters, he decides to ride one. When he gets on the ride, Hart discovers that the safety bar is not fully down and freaks out, but then he  realizes that the ride is just a tram to the roller coaster.

The joke is funny, but again he leaves the audience wondering: What happened when he got on the actual roller coaster?

Instead of expanding on this story, he jumps to another joke about his family ski trip in Aspen and how singer Seal ruined his “Black Week.”

The hasty and confusing setup leads to a lackluster joke. To close his standup, Hart tries to perform the “pull-the-punchline-from-other-jokes-to-create-one-final-joke” gambit, but because his standup covers so many different topics, the closing joke falls flat.

Perhaps the goal of the fast-paced topics is to keep the audience on its feet. It’s brutally hard to tell jokes and keep the audience’s attention for a whole hour, and it’s undeniable that Hart is a master at his craft.

Nevertheless, I would have preferred to see Hart tell fewer jokes but with better structure and setup, which would allow for stronger punchlines.

No doubt, Hart’s standup is solid and often hilarious at times, but his lack of focus and unity undermine the set as a whole. My rating for his new show: 3 out of 4 Falcons.

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