“There are not many comics with the resources to put on a comedy special like Kevin Hart’s new Netflix special No F**ks Given. It is a mid-COVID stand-up special filmed indoors in Hart’s own home, on a stage built in his living room and in front of a small audience of masked and distanced observers. Its very existence is impressive and ostentatious.
“Hart knows exactly how this all comes off: as a combination of anxiety and arrogance. He’s obsessed by it, worried about it, at once proud of what he’s accomplished and embarrassed by how much he wants everyone to think he’s great. He wants approval and wishes he didn’t want it so badly. He’s frustrated and confused about what it means to be a celebrity now, but he’s not blaming the audience — he’s just not exactly sure how this relationship works now. If this was all unconscious, the bragginess and the neediness on display in Zero F**ks Given could be wildly annoying. Instead, Hart makes those things the deliberate centerpiece, telling joke after joke about his weaknesses, his misapprehensions, the things he’s proud of, and how awkward it is to navigate between boasting and wanting to be loved.”
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Credit: Lead Assistant Editor