19 August 2014 | StevePulaski
An interesting actor and a self-deprecating title that should've provided more
In my mind, the next best thing after seeing a comedy special by a comedian or satirist that I know and enjoy is seeing a special by a comedian or satirist that I don't know or have never seen before. If I were to watch a new special by Louis C.K., Martin Lawrence, George Carlin, Gabriel Iglesias, or Loni Love, I'd have some expectations since I have seen and liked their previous material in the past.
Watching David Spade: My Fake Problems was nice because, similar to seeing Tom Green Live last year, I had no idea what I was in for. I've seen several films by Spade, liked a few, disliked a few, but have a generally positive attitude towards him and his prose. Up until seeing My Fake Problems, his first standup special since Take It Home in 1998, I had no idea what he was like live, standing up in front of an audience.
In his roughly-fifty minute comedy special, Spade feels more like a reiteration of a character he'd play in a film rather than himself. Spade zigs and zags through a great deal of evidently funny material - from childhood, skiing, and Tiger Woods - but his monotone delivery and rather basic dissection of subjects make for a surprisingly forgettable array of jokes.
Spade's funniest stuff comes in when he's talking about how easy acting is and when he's talking about Chris Farley at the very end of the special. In addition, his funniest observation is when he mentions how every commercial on TV on weekdays, during normal working hours, are simply repetitive advertisements for colleges, insurance, or jobs, reminding you how much of a loser you are. However, these segments are so short that they don't allow for any long-term, sustainable comedy to flourish at all.
It's also worth noting that for a special titled My Fake Problems, Spade doesn't elaborate on them much. He briefly gives us an empty discussion about the uncomfortable nature of skiing and how he had a concussion at a young age, but never to these channel the lines of good insight into what Spade actually believes or feels.
David Spade: My Fake Problems feels like Spade shielding himself from making stronger social and personal statements and, instead, resorting to oversimplifications and trying to find a direct pipeline for immediate laughter from the audience. Perhaps you find nothing wrong that, and, if so, that means you're in for a solid special. With such a self-deprecating title and an interesting actor, I'm not sure it was wrong to expect something more.
Starring: David Spade. Directed by: Michael Dimich.