Columnist, radio producer, and film school graduate Vito Calise, is reviewing all the comedy specials he can see. You know him from SiriusXM’s Bennington Show, The Interrobang’s Big Brothers podcast, and as the star of the first ever Instagram young adult drama series, The Halls. Born and raised on New York City’s Upper West Side, Vito went to Chelsea’s School of Visual Arts, has danced on bars as a bartender around Manhattan, operated a mechanical bull and was even a doorman for a week. He loves comedy and he’s a straight shooter, sharing his thoughts on comedy specials with you. This week he takes on Paul Rodriguez’s The Here and Wow. Released by Comedy Dynamics on May1, 2018. The special will premiere on Amazon, Comcast, DIRECTV, AT&T, DISH, iTunes, Charter, Google Play and many other platforms. The album will be released on May 4, 3018 on all digital and physical audio retailers.
The Here and Wow – Paul Rodriguez
Paul Rodriguez is one of the guys who it feels like has been in everything. When you turn on this special, even if you don’t know who he is you’re immediately going to have the “oh that guy” moment. The special started off with a short 2-minute forgettable scene and then Rodriguez strangely walking to the stage with no music, just silence and applause. He’s very popular in LA and they obviously packed his fans into the theater because there are even people standing as he comes out.
The material overall feels dated. Do you remember the whole “Women be shoppin” but from Nutty Professor? The first ten minutes of this special can best be described as “Women be wearing makeup”. Then an hour later, when you think you’re safe from that kind of material, guess what kicks in? “Women be eatin!” which leads into his dating and sex life and what kind of lady he’s into. I was actually hoping he wouldn’t go into dating stuff because the only time I laughed during the special was a throwaway line he used about why he doesn’t date earlier on.
It even feels like he’s strangely stealing Rodney Dangerfield’s delivery to start. He’s constantly groaning, shaking his head and grabbing his jacket. When he drops that delivery, it gets super frantic, almost uncomfortable. He’s stepping on his own jokes and when he is letting laughter hit, it almost feels like he wrote directions for himself like “pause for laughter”. The issue with the frantic pace is that it does not feel put together. There is material on opposite ends of the special that seems better fit to be next to each other, sometimes a joke ends before you realize it even started and he’s somewhere else and then sometimes you realize that 12 minutes later you’re somehow on the same joke and the only way you figure that out is the punch line connects to something you ay vaguely remember for 10 minutes ago.
Rodriguez does a lot of material about his life growing up in Compton and stories about his family and later in the special his son. I would like to say this material was better and Rodriguez should have focused on this aspect but unfortunately, this wasn’t very good either. It doesn’t feel like it’s just me who feels this way either because if you pay attention to the audience laughter it feels like they lose steam halfway as well.
There’s a lot of stuff about Trump and him wanting to build a wall. Yes, Rodriguez is Mexican so it makes sense for him to discuss this matter but it’s just so overdone and he’s not finding some new aspect of it. It’s still based on the fact that Mexicans can build and guess what they’ll also build … tunnels. Everyone is constantly making fun of Trump on every platform, you have one hour to stand out and showcase your skills, this is not the time to show off your Trump material.
Although I focused on the frantic style of the special before, the best way to describe the special overall is boring. You’re not seeing anything that’s going to blow your mind or you’re going to be laughing to yourself about at work for the next few weeks. It’s just another one of these specials that has nothing special about it whatsoever.