Let Me Explain, Kevin Hart's third stand-up comedy routine, was dropped into movie theaters July 3. Did I get all tingly inside and rush to go check it out? No, but let me explain.
The first time I took notice of Kevin Hart was around the release of his stand-up routine, Seriously Funny (2010). I thought his comedy was explosively refreshing and deeply introspective but at the same time, funny as hell.
From watching that routine, I backtracked and enjoyed Grown Little Man, the stand-up routine from 2008. My bootleg man even included a straight-to-DVD release of Something Like a Business where Hart played a makeshift pimp who inherits the family business and much like the premise promises, Something Like a Business deserved the Redbox treatment. Then there's that time he bombed the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards as a host. Then there's the last film he put out, a fan-favorite but pretty unimpressive nonetheless: Laugh at My Pain (2011).
Hart was witty and honest in the first two comedy specials but grasped at remedial straws in an attempt to secure cheaper, easier and potentially bigger laughs in Laugh at My Pain. It seems like much like at the MTV Awards, the bigger the stakes, the harder he fumbles. Not to mention, there was an awkward, awfully not funny film-short attached to the stand-up routine that made me angry for sitting there, eagerly anticipating the Oprah aha moment and being let-down in a furrowed-brow haze of poorly acted and scripted jokes. The bottom line was I didn't learn a lot about him that I thought was true and I was missing some of the self-deprecation that helps his routines.
His self-deprecating style houses the key to his success. It helps audiences remember that no matter the fame or income, at the end of the day we each share some commonality, some vulnerability, some awkwardly funny kink that we could feel down about but you'd feel like a schmuck if you did after watching this man bare his soul and turn that potential insecurity into a gold-mine of funny.
So, I may go see Let Me Explain this weekend just because of Hart's willingness to criticize himself, his culture, and because he'll probably say one or two things that really resonate with me. Hopefully, he doesn't go for the cheap laughs but opens up and goes for the TKO.