Love me some Lil' Rel and I dropped everything to watch this when I saw it was available. He has the type of humor that I have with my friends when just hanging out.
I also have to give him A LOT of respect for having an HBO Special in Crenshaw, making it available to fans in the inner city. But why they decided to record the special in a gym instead of an auditorium is beyond me. The setting was distracting with the crowd constantly in the shot and they had to adjust the lighting in the gym midway through to address the setting sun. It just seemed really amateurish.
But for the show itself, there certainly were some parts that made me laugh out loud, but it was more to the silliness of what was being said, rather than laughing at the punchline of a bonafide, clever joke. If you're familiar with Lil Rel's comedy, then you know he's notorious for laughing at his own jokes. And there's nothing wrong with that at all and he has an infectious laugh for sure. But it's awwwwwwkward when he's laughing at stuff the crowd didn't find all that funny or laughing before he really gets the joke out.
Some of the "characters" he used in this special were really just recycled characters from other specials just with different titles. In other words, it was just a mechanism to re-hash the better parts of other routines he's done. Fine for someone who's never seen his material before, but they were much better executed in the past than done here.
One of my pet peeves with comedians is when they dwell on a joke too long ex. Telling a story and within that story, repeating a word phrase or sound over and over again. He did that a few times and it was just like ok man move on.
Lil Rel is hilarious, and he's got a lot of funny material out there, but for this being an HBO Special, this was horribly directed. And I dunno if maybe he had a bit too much to drink, but at times he either couldn't seem to focus or remember what he was trying to say, making the entire thing come off as disjointed.
Gave it a 5 for the genuine laugh out loud moments. They're definitely there and make this special worth it if you're bored and have some free time.