Live Review: Mike Epps — Club Nokia, Los Angeles
Sat, 17 Apr 2010 13:52:27
"These are just jokes, muthafucka; I ain't a motivational speaker," declared Mike Epps midway through an unforgettable show last night at Club Nokia in downtown Los Angeles.
Epps is so sharp, smart and savvy that he could be a motivational speaker though. For over an hour, Epps and a crew of comedians dispensed one undeniably hilarious but painfully true observation after another. Epps' comedy is unlike anyone else on the scene, currently or preceding him. He's got an edge a la Richard Pryor and a hypnotic irreverent bombast reminiscent of Chris Rock, but he also possesses a sensitivity that comes across like street poetry. Most importantly though, no one, absolutely no one is safe from Epps—especially someone too serious for his or her own good.
Early on with a big smirk, Epps exclaimed, "Look at all the big girls in here. Precious got ya'll arrogant as hell!" The packed audience erupted in laughter, and Epps kept firing off anecdotes with the speed of a prizefighter. Poor Precious was the butt of a few jokes, but Epps thankfully didn't give a shit about anyone's feelings. He's honest, and that's the best thing for a comedian to be. Anything that's too serious becomes fair game for a comic jab. Tiger Woods got it—"He fucked everything up. Now we gotta be in the house by six!" Even people in the crowd, including one woman walking in front of the stage with a backpack ready to work got nailed—"Look it's Dora the Explorer. Bitch have some fun some time!"
Epps was all about fun and everyone in attendance got to share in it. Crossing the stage, he told another raucous little tale. "I saw a lady walking with a dog, and I said, 'That's a nice pig.' So she said, 'It's a dog not a pig.' I said, 'I was talking to the dog.'" It's that kind of direct storytelling coupled with Epps flawlessly timed delivery that makes him stand out from everyone. He can tell a simple tale with the right inflection and conjure massive laughs.
Plus, Epps isn't afraid of any taboos and he always speaks his mind. Switching gears, he went on, "I can't fuck a girl with short hair because when you're hittin' it from the back, it looks like you're fuckin' your buddy." That definitely ain't good, but the laughs were.
Donning a shiny dapper suit, Epps bobbed and weaved around the stage dancing with the same panache he fires off his comedy with. He jested, "I'm dressed like this because I didn't get to go the prom; I was locked up that year. This is my black Oscar shit!"
If the Academy Awards had any kind of sense of humor, Epps would've gotten a little gold statue for his performance as Doug in The Hangover last year—quite possibly the funniest and nicest drug dealer in cinematic history. The same balance between endearing playfulness and unshakable humor came through at each moment of Epps' set. The star-studded audience—including Oscar nominee Taraji Henson and Epps' longtime homie hip hop legend and actor Ice Cube—also got it good from Epps. "Taraji is the kind of girlfriend you want to have in the hood because she'll drop a muthafucka!"
At one point someone in the crowd yelled "Day to Day" to Epps in reference to his Next Friday and Friday After Next character. Epps turned his gaze right toward him and with a classic deadpan said, "My name ain't Day Day, muthafucka. See what you did Cube?!"
Epps has come along way from Day Day, and this show illuminated that fact. In between Epps' hilarious riffing, a whole slew of "Nasty muthafuckas" lit up the stage including Rob Stapleton and Vanessa Fraction. Epps created a bit of a comic symphony with each player standing out on his or her own, while he conducted and orchestrated all of the madness.
Watching Epps evolve into one of the funniest and sharpest comedians of the 21st century is inspiring and "motivating." Thank God this show was taped, as it's bound to be a legendary one and Epps could have a career in motivational speaking if he wants to. Tony Robbins ain't got shit on him.
Were you there?