Mo’Nique's latest special arrives on Netflix
After what seems like an eternity in stage years, Oscar, BAFTA, and Golden Globe Award-winning actress and comedian Mo'Nique returns with a new stand-up special; My Name is Mo'Nique, from Netflix. Mo'Nique and her husband serve as executive producers on the project, while L. Fraizer directs.
The official synopsis for My Name is Mo'Nique states: "In her unprecedented return to the stage, Mo'Nique delivers a career-defining, powerful stand-up performance that will leave you breathless. Mo'Nique's trademark is her humorous stories that will make you laugh until you cry and her heart-rending emotional performances, Mo'Nique promises that by the end of her show, she will make you understand her personality.
Mo'Nique reveals herself as much as she can with her unique brand of candor, fearlessness, and humor. Segments in the special include growing up in Baltimore and recalling her Grandma Mimi's warnings about men. She also touches on why he "ACCEPTS" life's harsh realities. She leaves nothing on the table and reveals herself completely."
It's almost impossible to believe Mo'Nique won her Oscar thirteen years ago. Following her Oscar win, she appeared in five feature films. While she did the occasional comedy gig and appeared in small-budget plays, Mo'Nique has spent the past five years speaking out about why she deserves her coins. Now, on the one hand, I'm a firm believer that there's no reason that Mo'Nique shouldn't have a career comparable to fellow Oscar winner Octavia Spencer. However, as I've gotten older, I realize that what GOD has for you is truly just that. Ultimately I want to see Mo'Nique win, so I hit play on the special with an open mind.
As the special begins, we see shots of audience members anxiously awaiting Mo to take the stage. She gives the audience a voice-over, politely addressing those who have counted her out. The curtain rises, and when Mo takes the stage with a million-dollar smile in an elegant black dress, I am reminded of a quote by Michelle Obama.
"Instead of letting your hardships and failures discourage or exhaust you, let them inspire you. Let them make you even hungrier to succeed." That said, similar to Chris Rock's latest stand-up, I expect a vast divide among comedy fans. I will give Mo'Nique credit for her storytelling ability, as she kept my attention for the entire hour. I also commend her for not speaking ill of those she had issues with previously and turning the other cheek.
However, there is too much raunch in the comedy special, not that I expected a family-friendly set. Instead, some jokes come across as her using profanity just because she can. The jokes around oral sex were tasteless, and though I am certainly not a prude, the punchlines just weren't there. Mo'Nique follows up those gags with a heartfelt monologue where she bares all about her past. I get her intent, but the transition didn't flow.
Mo'Nique shines in dramatic moments, and I respect her honesty, but a documentary mixing skits detailing her history and current stance may have made for a better show. While the comedy side of My Name is Mo'Nique provided hardly any laughter for me, her monologues validate that drama may be the route to take at this point in her career.
Final Grade: C-
My Name is Mo'Nique premiers on Netflix tommorow