lissa’s review published on Letterboxd:
Hmm. This is tough to write, I'm tired of thinking about it, so I'm just gonna spit some words out.
You can't talk or review this special without talking about the article/accusation that came out against him. Everyone has their own opinions, and I believe Aziz did what she said he did. I believed the woman's words, but I also truly believed Aziz would come out and apologize, and be smart and learn from this.
It's hard to ignore the fact that Aziz never genuinely said sorry, he basically was like, "I'm sorry she felt this way, it was a miscommunication." And even in the special, he never directly apologizes to "Grace." He talks about how HE'S scared and HE is embarrassed. Mostly how this all affected HIM, which makes you wanna say, "dude, really?"
I still wanted to give Aziz a chance, so I saw him live in Orlando in October of 2018, and 80% of the material I saw that night was in this special.
Bottom line is: the special is really uncomfortable like 60% of the time because he makes fun of people trying to be "too woke," when it's the same PC culture that called him out for his actions. During my Orlando show, he didn't even address the allegations.
Other reviewers are doing a way better job of what I'm trying to say, but I think I'm just ultimately so disappointed. Whispering things doesn't make him more genuine, the pacing was wack and not cohesive, and the whole thing felt so forced. Like I just wanted Aziz to unclench his butt the whole time.
I wish I could say Spike Jonze's directing saved it, but the close-ups only worked 30% of the time, and the camera was also shaky a lot of the time? I loved having a comedy special on film, but I wish Jonze saved it for someone better and cooler (and this is coming from someone who has been a fan of Aziz since 9th grade).
On a positive note, Aziz truly shines during the special when he's just telling jokes and personal stories, and especially when he's messing with the audience members. But it's whenever he tries to pull it back and have a serious conversation, it becomes a whispering mess of awkwardness and random audience member close-ups...
I don't know, I'm just disappointed, I guess that's really it. I'm still curious about his future work though.
Edit: my mom made a good point/joke that this whole special just felt like a therapy session for Aziz, and the poor audience was just there for some laugh, and barely got any...