Published Sep 20, 2016Arnez J.'s Racially Motivated was recorded in Boston and released in 2013. While the comedian's use of act-outs, accents and sound effects brings his material to life throughout the performance, he isn't consistently funny enough to wholly excuse his irreverence.
The material itself is somewhat commonplace. For example, he jokes about how black people and white people interact with the police differently, and about how white people don't beat their kids. Basically, because we've heard these jokes before, they need to be really good or they need to introduce a fresh perspective in order for them to be laugh-out-loud funny.
Another issue with J.'s material is that the power dynamics aren't always set up with finesse — like when he discusses other minority groups. In the case of his "handicapped" brother, the jokes seem to rely on the antiquated and flawed notion of, "It's okay, some of my best friends are…" to get away with saying whatever he wants.
Essentially, it seems like many of his jokes are at the expense of the group he is discussing. It's almost like a child pointing and laughing, as if to say, "Look at that silly group! They do that!" Putting a pin in political correctness since this is standup comedy, it's too simplistic to be hilarious.
Still, it's clear that for the live audience, Arnez J. is an incredibly engaging performer. His audience participates wholeheartedly when asked to repeat phrases or to answer a question. There are also moments in the performance when he gets a bit more serious or makes an observation — like the difference between Africans and black Americans — that really get someone watching on Netflix to connect. Unfortunately, these moments are too rare to make this special worth watching.
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