Sunday, May 25, 2014

D.L. Hughley's "Clear"


In both real-life conversation and my online presence, I’m not really one to use the word “meh.” I see it on the interwebs all the time and I always judge people for using it. It’s like going dirty while performing improv; it’s just too easy. A cop-out, really. Rather than explain themselves or what they’re feeling, people resort to those three letters. 

And yet, in a gesture of being completely transparent with you, I confess that’s what I said after listening to the new project from D.L. Hughley, “Clear.” Yep, that’s right. When the final track came to an end, I literally said “meh” out loud to myself. I believe it’s the first time I’ve ever used the word, either audibly or typed into my laptop. 

It’s not that Hughley doesn’t have stage presence (he does) and it’s not that there aren’t a ton of people out there who find him funny (there are…and they’re all in the audience during the recording). Personally, I have to admit, I just don’t get him. 

I’m not saying I don’t understand what Hughley is saying, I’m just asking if there couldn’t be…more. This is, I believe, the fourth album I’ve reviewed in the last couple of months with a reference to marijuana being legalized and Twinkies being discontinued (not to mention the countless late-night jokes that were told on television). If you’re going to put your spin on something everyone else is talking about, then you really need to make it your own. Instead, Hughley merely mentions he can’t believe both events happened and leaves it at that. 

And the crowd goes wild.

I realize Hughley is an original King of Comedy but that shouldn’t mean he gets a free pass. Just because a King of Comedy says something, that doesn’t - or shouldn’t - automatically render it funny.  I mean come on, he didn’t even do a joke about it, he just mentioned that it happened, and people lost their minds. It reminded me of the time my wife and I went to see Man of Steel in the theater and, as the end credits rolled, people in the seats around us began to applaud. No, seriously, they applauded Man of Steel. When my wife stood up, turned around, and pled with them, “Haven’t you ever been to the movies before?” I loved her even more. 

I felt like she would have wondered something similar had she been in Hughley’s audience the night this CD was recorded. “You’re laughing at this? How do you react when something actually funny happens?”

If you’re already a fan of Hughley, then I doubt anything I say will change your mind. If jokes about black people liking grape drink are new, fresh, and cutting edge to you and you just can’t get enough of them, then you’re in for a treat. As for me, it all just seemed too easy. Too…meh.

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