When a comedian like John Early—known for his inexhaustible stage characters as well as his witty take on pop culture—starts a comedy special with a title card that reads “THIS MOVIE MUST BE PLAYED HIGH, Bitch,” it reads more like a command than a request. Look for your remote control tucked under the seat cushions so you don’t miss a second of Early’s new special show. John Early: Now More Than Everpremieres June 17 on HBO. Anything less than noise hurts yourself (and your neighbors who hear the noise coming from your walls).
Without this volume boost, you might miss Early opening his set with a Trump joke; this is somewhat unexpected from a comic that tends to be more cunning with its offline political distortions. “If we look back Access to Hollywood tapes,” Early begins, “…not that bad!” Of course, Early isn’t underestimating what was said on those vile tapes where Trump uttered some of his most infamously disgusting words while on a hot microphone. Instead, some lightness is instilled in them, making it easy to disparage the now then–and the court-ex-president.
“Looking back, it sounds less predatory and maybe a little more like a sex-scared person,” Early continues. “I think it sounded like ‘locker room talk’ because I was trying to convince a group of straight men in the dressing room at age 12 that I ‘like Lizzy’.”
The comedian then cuts out a few lines from the movie. Access to Hollywood The tapes literally impress them with the inexperienced tone of an introverted middle schooler. “Are you just… holding on to your cunts?” Early says he looks around for confirmation from invisible athletes. “I continued he like a bitch!” it takes a playful, feminine tone and emphasizes that Trump’s words make absolutely no sense. Early ends this chapter with a dread that every middle school student shares around the world: “I better get some Tic Tac. case I’m starting to kiss him.”
As with most of Early’s specials, it is difficult to synthesize the comedian’s mannerisms and presentation into the written word. but what does that do Now more than ever It’s a lovely romp in Early’s psyche: It’s unpredictable and must be seen to be fully appreciated.
Luckily, there’s plenty for both Early and casual stand-up enthusiasts alike. Now more than ever It is largely non-linear, with periodic musical breaks in which Early performs top-down songs, complete with a live band. Of course not too much; It’s not a musical, and Early knows that no one in the audience is here for an Off-Broadway production – on private recording or at home. But the songs are ways to get the audience in and out of bits without losing their attention (like the perfect Britney Spears impression). Early is a student of the legendary performer and is skilled at harnessing the hypnotic energy of musicians to create a stage presence as impossible to stay out of sight. Negative to give
in the back half Now more than everIn front of a soft, writhing piano, Early enters a wildly clever segment that tackles millennial sluggishness and the absurdity of mainstream gay culture. Early likens the Grindr grill to something immoral sarcastic group The entrance where everyone in the California neighborhood for a long time stared at each other with raging disgust and too much familiarity. If any of this seems exaggerated, Early is aware of it and has a lot of wily jokes about it too.
“As a generation, I really feel like we’re leaning towards exaggeration,” Early says with sincere conviction. “Have you seen TAR? My chin was on the floor, I had to hire a Duty Bunny to pick it up!”” He also leans towards the Instagramming of our daily lives and speech patterns. “‘This kind of unbelievable human, ‘my one favorite People, ‘Fuck off’ These deep thoughts about our current cultural situation are hilarious because they don’t come down, they sway at our level. Early doesn’t pretend to be over any of that, and makes his private feel more like babbling with a friend after a few drinks than watching a deaf, ultra-rich funny poke fun in a culture they’re not into. .
Now more than ever It’s shot more like a variety show and like a traditional stand-up show, with multiple cameras zooming in and out to follow Early throughout the scene. This dynamic range highlights the unique physicality of the subject. No one can cover an entire scene quite like Early, and the film’s uplifting style captures the absolute post-verbal rage of his movements as he moves through Early’s exhaustion. And while the special doesn’t feature any of Early’s beloved characters like the denim-loving “Vicky with a V,” it’s impressive to see what Early can do entirely on his own, without falling back on the easier laughs the oversized characters can dust. -above.
He recently announced that he will not be attending this week’s premiere of the special and will halt further press. Now more than ever, to support the WGA strike. Oddly enough, this decision lines up with a joke from the set about how Instagram infographics scold us for performative ally and often make those infographics feel performative.
But it’s clear that there was nothing wrong with either Early’s decision or his delightfully sharp specialty. If that’s all we can get from Early until WGA brokers a fair deal, the grade will be in exceptionally good shape.
Listen to John Early and Kate Berlant for more. The Last Laugh podcast.