John Early and His Dizzying New Special, ‘Now More Than Ever’

He has more than enough charisma to put together a jigsaw puzzle for this show. Access is consistent, if not easy. I think the key to his persona can be found in the jokes in which he talks about the vanity that has always been touted to his generation, and himself as an embodiment of it. “In summary, it goes something like this,” he says. “I don’t know how to pay taxes, but I know how to be a bad guy,” he said. “It’s the shell of a bad guy.”

That’s the role Early plays here. In black leather pants, he dances across the stage, flirting with the crowd as mesmerizingly as the cameras flirt with him. This shell is full of cracks and is fun to look at. And that’s a very funny take when he introduces his parents in the crowd and reverts to being a cocky, insecure kid, or in the “Access Hollywood” tape where he compares Trump to Early as a secret 12-year-old. It’s not something you see only when you do A 1-year-old boy trying to convince his friends that he likes girls in the locker room. “To be honest, Donald Trump is not a voluptuous person,” he says. His way of saying “to be honest” annoys me.

One of the many reasons Early is so hard to pin down is that while he leans on arrogance and gaiety, his most salient moment is his book on another realm: language. It’s mixed with the vigilance of love. My favorite part came out of an inspirational molehill on how Apple manipulates users to give up their personal data by presenting these choices when trying to download an app. It’s a joke. The word “allow,” he says, “my pillow is bad,” or “ask apps not to track me,” he calls “the most suicidal monosyllabic sound sequences.” I can’t quite put this into words, but it’s essentially a five-minute, perusal literary critique that ends in tears and hysteria. If that’s your type, like I am, you’re in luck.

It also includes a comedy that satirizes the overly online virtue language. “I just want to make sure this is amplifying queer voices,” he asks before adding.

Early defines herself as the quintessential millennial, but with a Gen X obsession for a romanticized version of 1970s culture. The grainy film stock and thick red font of this special remind me of a Tarantino movie. In the song, which reveals nostalgic riffs, Early reminisces about the days of Bob Diane, when Ruche’s choreographer appeared on talk shows and the dance was “kinky and mysterious.”

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