Craig's First Take: "Kevin Hart-Let Me Explain"

Photo Credit: Summit Entertainment

How funny is Kevin Hart? He’s a friend of Judd Apatow, was one of the people invited to Franco’s house during the first half of “This is the End”, and most impressive of all, is one of the few comedians to not only sell out all 30,000 seats at Madison Square Garden, but to do it twice in back to back shows. So this guy is pretty damn funny and it’s pretty obvious that he has skills as a comedic leading man and that Hollywood better come knocking soon. But in the meantime, if you’ve never seen him do stand-up, “Let Me Explain” is a hilarious introduction good enough to make your jaw sore.

In what accounts for a story here, Hart is first seen throwing a Mix N Mingle at his house where people can’t help but chastise him about the facts that he’s still not Eddie Murphy yet, his first leading role in a Hollywood movie (“Soul Plane”) was an epic fail, and many believe that fame has gone to his head. This (fictional) representation of course cannot stand and Hart must set the record straight, to which he funnily cancels the party and takes a ride over to the Garden to get some things off his chest.

Hart began as a comedian who loved to imitate guys like Chris Tucker in his performances and even though he changed the act up since, it can’t be denied that Hart still kept the manic energy. There’s a lot of imitations, shouting, goofy facial expressions, and running around but the material here is all him and its solid, detailing insecurities about his small size (and the hilarious problems from bodyguards and horse-riding that arise from that), phobias of the homeless (bum-bumps), and the complicated slope that is crazy girlfriends and the lies you learn not to tell them (the man code between best friends is analyzed well here). Something else that directors Leslie Small and Tim Story, who also worked on Hart’s 2011 concert film “Laugh at my Pain”, don’t let get away here is how social media has led to a wider recognition around the world. You would be surprised how well people in the Netherlands get black humor. Certainly these two shows at the Garden represent a gold standard for any comedian, something not lost on him, or us, as the show comes to a close.