Picture of Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

The chuckles are minimal in Mike Epps: Ready to Sell Out

Comedian Mike Epps has partnered with streaming giant Netflix again in his latest stand-up special titled “Mike Epps: Ready To Sell Out.” The special was directed by fellow comedian Royale Watkins and was filmed at the Gila Resorts & Casino in Phoenix, Arizona. Despite being in the comedy industry for three decades, Epps has had his fair share of ups and downs. While he has shown promise in films like “You People” and “Dolemite Is My Name,” his highly anticipated Richard Pryor biopic directed by Lee Daniels has been in development hell for years.

On the television tip, Epps’s first headlining sitcom, a remake of Uncle Buck, was quickly canceled, but it opened the door for him to topline the well-received series “The Upshaws.” However, Epps’s Bread & butter has always been stand-up. His fourth stand-up special finds Epps pondering where all of his money has gone despite a thriving career, getting into the trials and tribulations of his relationships, and a plethora of street observations. I’ve seen Epps live a few times, but honestly, his stand-up never hits for me. Nevertheless, I wanted to go into his latest special with an open mind. Before I delve into Epps, though, I want to credit Royale Watkins’s direction as he focuses the camera on the comedian instead of the audience. Watching the special, I felt like I was in the venue with the rest of the audience instead of in the comfort of my own home.

Epps takes the stage in sleek, comfortable attire to thunderous applause and kicks his set off with jokes that cater to the old wives’ tale about Phoenix, where the FBI sends you for Witness protection and then guides us into jokes about the Hispanic community and the type of women he dates. Honestly, there were some more moments where I chuckled, but Epps offers nothing new. Despite Mike Epps’s undeniable gift for comedy and his magnetic allure on stage, it was truly astonishing how surreal his latest stand-up performance turned out. The fact that Epps relies on tired stereotypes and vulgar humor is disappointing and unoriginal. His comedic style seems outdated and lazy, which is a shame considering his potential for clever wit and insightful commentary. While some may appreciate his aggressive approach, many listeners want more nuance and subtlety in his material. It’s hard not to feel cheated when you see Epps falling back on banal jokes instead of exhibiting the courage to break from convention and stirring up inclusive humor that resonates with all demographics.

Even though he effortlessly commands audience attention wherever he performs, it is painfully clear that Epps’s material would remarkably elevate should he lean towards more refined sensibilities that encapsulate greater social awareness at its core. But as they say, comedy is subjective, so give this one a view and form your opinion.

Final Grade: C-
“Mike Epps: Ready To Sell Out” premieres on Netflix today.

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