You’ll Either Love or Loathe This Stand-Up
Felipe Esparza is not going to be for everyone. Much like Marmite, this is a stand-up comedian you’ll either love or hate. With some dark jokes and a juxtaposing jovial tone, this is a comic that has a very distinct and polarizing style.
If this is your first time seeing Felipe Esparza, this isn’t his first rodeo. After his 2 stand-up specials in 2012 and 2017, Esparza’s style has matured to blend real-life experiences with exaggerated mannerisms; a buzzy, anxious style on stage that’s quite distracting but one you eventually warm to.
On Netflix his content comes in two forms; one in Spanish and another in English. The material is roughly the same but in a slightly different order, with the Spanish back-dropped by an eye-pleasing royal purple curtain. Despite not speaking Spanish I actually preferred that special as the jokes flowed a little better.
The material itself begins with some foundation-setting content that’s drawn on throughout the hour. Dogs and rescue homes combine with the ghetto and sketchiness when the police are nearby. These two subjects are referenced constantly with one particular stance played on for maximum comedic content.
Alongside this, other topics include marital abuse, drugs, immigrants, step-children and relationships. The jokes are quite hit or miss though, with some stepping over the line and feeling pretty subjective. It doesn’t help either that the audience seem to laugh at random times before the punch-line is delivered.
“I walked by a 7/11 and saw a homeless guy” Garnered a fair few chuckles from the crowd. Another time the audience erupts into laughter after Felipe admits he didn’t feel bad sending his kid to school without breakfast. The punchline that follows this is actually pretty good but hearing the crowd whoop and cheer midway through jokes is a bit distracting.
For every lull though, there’s an equal high. There’s a few genuine laugh out loud jokes here and all of these play on the self-deprecating tone Felipe Esparza revels in. Personally, the best joke of the night comes from the material touching on step-children.
Still, Bad Decisions is a stand-up show that’ll be very polarizing to the general audience. If you’re not sold within 20 minutes then it’s unlikely you’ll stick around for the long-haul. If you can take to the style of comedy and look past some of the darker content, you’re sure to have a good time with this one.
Verdict - 6/10