Chris Tucker’s performance left a lot to be desired. I mean a lot! How about laughter, for starters. Is a well-rehearsed routine too much to ask? What about a single memorable joke? A grand finale, perhaps? For tickets that cost as much as $30, I expected at least one of those. I got none.
Ok. First of all, let me say that I went to the very first show of his 6-day Comedy House engagement. So I know the last show in the run will probably be remarkably better than the show I saw. And for the sake of those who bought their non-refundable tickets in advance, they’d better hope so, because Tuesday’s show was mediocre at best. If Chris Jones had charged $30 for the caliber of show that Chris Tucker delivered, The Comedy House Theatre probably would have had a mutiny on their hands.
I know Chris Tucker is highly coveted in the movie industry. He’s made us laugh in the Rush Hour movies, Fifth Element, Dead Presidents, Friday and others. (In case you weren’t aware of his movies, he reminded you as he took a self-serving stroll down movie-memory-lane). Maybe his performance demonstrated that he has so effectively made the transition to movie star, that he is no longer a professional stand up comic. Or perhaps his recent spiritual awakening has something to do with his lackluster performance.
While I encourage everyone to make peace with their God, Tucker’s new palatable style almost put me to sleep. His spiritual awakening may help him get into heaven, but it did nothing for his comedy show.
Speaking of spiritual awakening, let me note that Tucker did not use a great deal of profanity. Ass, shit, damn and hell was as deep as it went for him. I’ve heard preachers use worse language, so that was pretty mild. I applaud him for his family-friendly show, because I know for a fact that you don’t have to use the n-word, extreme vulgarity and demeaning comments about women in order to be funny. But the one thing that is required to be funny are jokes… and Chris Tucker had very few. He basically paraded up and down the stage, sang songs that he didn’t know the words to, and did a few amateur impersonations for two whole hours. Need I remind you that some people paid 30 bucks for those tickets?
I used to work at the Comedy House when I was in college so I got to see some awesome shows during my tenure there. I saw Chris Rock, George Wallace, Sheryl Underwood, Pauley Shore, Sommore, Adele Givens and many other well-known comics when they were at the top of their games. All of them had something in common, (perhaps with the exception of Pauley Shore) a routine. Their shows had a distinct beginning, middle, and end. They had smooth transitions from topic to topic. They told a comedic story that took you on a journey and ultimately culminated in a grand finale, which was often the best joke of the night. Chris Tucker’s show had none of that… except, perhaps an opening. He came out to Michael Jackson’s “You Rock My World”. You may recall that he appeared in MJ’s video, so that was fitting. Other than that, the entire show was off the cuff and willy-nilly. He was visibly thinking of jokes to tell and even asked us a time or two for joke topics. Now… this is Columbia, SC. We are every late night comic’s dream, and you have the nerve to ask the audience what’s going on? Gimme a break. How are you going to take to our number one comedy stage and not mention Alvin Greene, Joe Wilson, Governor Mark Sanford, and the New Black Panthers? A comedian has enough material within a 30-mile radius of the Comedy House to keep an audience rolling for days. Yet Chris Tucker didn’t employ any of them. Instead, he talked about how his family rags him for money.
Another problem I had with Tucker’s show (as if you need another one) was that he complained about the downside of his fame. Man, you make millions and many people had to scrape up 30 bucks just to see you and all you want to do is complain? We don’t want to hear that. We have real problems at home… we PAID you to help us escape them. We don’t want to hear how much you hate taking pictures with fans… I mean really. WE are fans! You didn’t have a problem taking our $30! Furthermore, how dare you threaten to stop the show when YOU mistake the flash from a sparkly shirt for a camera flash and erroneously summoned security. In the words of Samuel L Jackson in Jackie Brown (another Chris Tucker movie), “What happened to you man? You used to be beautiful!”
Ok… So I guess my final verdict is that Chris Tucker used Columbia as his test market. And that’s probably good for him, because if he were someplace else, his unscripted, disjointed, all over the place yet going nowhere show would have been eaten alive! He’s lucky he just has to deal with ThatTeowonna!
Discussion: What do you think? If you saw the show, were you disappointed? Why do you think Chris Tucker selected Columbia to test out his skit?
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