So Irresponsible: Kevin Hart

The Irresponsible Tour: Kevin Hart
Rating: *
The O2 Arena
London SE18
Review date: 1st September 2018

Comedy superstar Kevin Hart’s Irresponsible Tour opens with a trailer for his new film ‘Night School’ and a compilation of clips from his past movies. It’s all hugely impressive and emphasises his status as one of the world’s #1 comedy actors. However when it gets to the main stand up show there’s a major disconnect between the big laughter, exaggerated set ups and goofing around that works so well on his many TV shows and films with what happens on the stage.

Maybe it’s because he is forced to literally stand up on his own two feet, sharing the stage with no one so that he cannot play on the short-man persona that is his comedy USP, that he carry’s off so well and so that which many are so used to enjoying is completely absent from the show.

There was some good material about his “great baby” and the perils of couple’s making out when their off-spring could burst in at any given moment. That was very funny. The story  about having 9 guns in the house in case he gets burgled was a little baffling to a British audience, who at most might, at most, have a baseball bat lying around the house as a potential weapon of choice! A 9 gun salute in a private house is a whole new level of welcome a burglar can expect if they even dare to try breaking into Kevin Hart’s yard!! Is it irresponsible for American’s to be so fixated on guns and the right to bear arms? Without getting into that whole debate from a British perspective, regardless of whether you stand, you must agree that it’s totally irresponsible for there to be so many senseless mass murders and smaller murders right across that nation and for their to be appear to be no solution in sight that all sides of the debate can agree on.

There was some pleasant enough material re playing Monopoly, but using “real stuff “ as collateral which showed the serious lengths some will go to “play” and win. The Japan-rollercoaster joke was quite neat in a self-depracatory way, which is Hart’s stock in trade.

Overall the showed lacked any real substance and spent far too much in the comedy gutter with it central theme being overtly crude, sexual material as opposed to anything more original. That was the same for the support acts too – Naim Lynn and Will “Spanks” Horton really dragging the level down. Naim Lynn to be fair told a mean joke and held the audience’s attention. Host Joey Wells was quite funny and kept the audience nicely entertained between acts. I found the crudeness quite ironic really seeing as Kevin Hart was so keen and proud to bring out his “great baby” daughter during the show. If she was older would she really be proud of what her Daddy and his support acts presented on stage? I don’t think so. Now that’s irresponsible.

Why not get the comedians doing at least some topical material – Brexit, Trump, Aretha Franklin, Teresa May’s trip and dancing in Africa last week are just a few issues that spring to mind? There’s so much to cover. For someone who comes across as quite a playful, jovial guy, it was a shame he didn’t make more of a connection made with the audience. So focused was he on performing to the camera. This was being filmed for his 6th “Live Special.” Ironically considering his ban on mobile phone usage in the arena no advanced notice was given of this or permission was requested from the fans for this filming. As a result of this focus on the camera, there was no banter between Hart and his audience.

His set lasted around an hour, which felt disappointingly short especially after all the waiting and hype before the show. It seemed very off too that before he came on stage Joey got the audience to pre-record “fake laughter” to no jokes!! Bizarre. Surely its the job of the acts to generate the laughter to be captured on film?!!  That said it all really.

In addition, despite doors opening at 5.30pm with a promised start time of 7pm the hostct didn’t hit the stage until 7.45pm. leaving the audience to chat amongst themselves and twiddle their thumbs … for they’d daren’t play with their phones! More on that soon. Rather than have quiet time with no-one on stage it would have been better to put on the opening acts and/or add some more acts if needed, or fill the time by playing some Kevin Hart TV shows.

Kevin Hart & Tiffany Haddish on The Jonathan Ross Show 01.09.18

The ban on using phones during the show was annoying – not so much the banning them. That was fine as I agree people should focus on the show rather than being on their phones, but the excessive going on about this from the stage before the show via public announcements and by some of the acts. That said, it did allow Joey Wells to come up with one of the funniest routines of the night when he joked that if you get tapped on the shoulder for having your phone out it’s time to go. No arguing. No matter if you’re Black, White, Asian or Latino. He playfully joked about all the little stereotypes of each race, with the biggest laughs reserved for his view on how he hoped Middle Eastern audience wouldn’t over react to being evicted for having their phones out!

They could have introduce those lockable Yondr pads that Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle use at their shows but I guess they (sort of) half-trusted the fans to be adult and not use them!

By and large the experiment worked and after a fashion most people got the message that even holding your mobile phone was a big no no and would get you evicted. There were numerous security patrolling up and down the arena specifically looking for people on their mobile phones! Sadly there was more fun  to be had looking to see who security might throw out than there was enjoyment to be found watching the performers on stage.

© Tiemo Talk of the Town

Kevin Hart appeared on the Jonathan Ross show with Comedians Rob Beckett and Night School co-star Tiffany Haddish. This can be viewed on itv-player until 30th September 2018.

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