Home » HBO Comedy Special: JOHN EARLY: NOW MORE THAN EVER | Review

HBO Comedy Special: JOHN EARLY: NOW MORE THAN EVER | Review

by Jef Dinsmore
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It is never too late to watch JOHN EARLY: NOW MORE THAN EVER. The comedy special, which debuted on SATURDAY, JUNE 17 on HBO, is now curated on Max for your enjoyment. A PR statement declares – In his first HBO comedy special, John Early brings his unique blend of cutting commentary, pop star swagger, and all-around loveable hilarity to Roulette Intermedium in Brooklyn, New York. In the style of a gritty 1970s rockumentary, Early performs stand-up and explosive song covers from Britney Spears to Neil Young, intercut with Spinal Tap-esque backstage sketches.

I guess he is proposing that in our serious social climate, his comedy style is needed more than ever. We’ve finally gotten around to seeing whether that is true or not. And dare I say, it’s not.

And dare I say, it’s not. He tries to stick the landing on so much here and just didn’t trigger me at all. His audience dug him though. So did the critics aggregated over on Rotten Tomatoes, all nine of them. One review states, “Unlike other comedians who strive for the relatable or the authentic, Early embraces hyperbole, finding truth in caricatures and camp.” That’s not the vibe I was catching. Another remarked. “It’s involved, detailed stand-up, a genuine performance. And Early makes it look easy.” I can’t argue with that statement for the most part, but those points don’t necessarily add up to a great comedy routine. It is indeed ‘involved’ as Early throws a number of theatrical components to his piece, they just don’t gel well and it is a ‘genuine performance’ I’m sure. This is John Early as he is known to his family & friends. He is not whipping up a character, he thinks & communicates just this way. I can’t and won’t slap him down for being himself. 

JohnEarly_SpecialPic2I can’t however, agree with the ‘detailed stand-up’ descriptive. It was too jumbled for me; it was an uneven mish-mash that didn’t play well, for me. He shouldn’t really state his backstage sketches as Spinal Tap-esque when they weren’t even close. He really shouldn’t sing, in my opinion, and he let bits drag on too long for me. His “Ask App Not to Track” bit exemplifies that.

Maybe I’m just an old fart who didn’t appreciate or understand it at all. Or maybe I thought he was trying to jam-pack far too much into his special when I didn’t think he had the caliber to do so. Hey, that’s just me. Prove me wrong if you can. I did walk away with one positive note however, John Early has cojones. he was more than ready, willing, and able to throw all that he had at us. You got to give him credit for that if nothing else. Discover his routine for yourself and see if you get it or if you’re like me and don’t.      

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