A world in which pandemics and wars exist is a world that needs comedy and laughter. David Spade’s light-hearted stage presence is enjoyable enough in a time that can be bogged down by political and societal upheaval. At the same time, David’s new Netflix special, Nothing Personal, is also nothing special.
Throughout his special, which runs just over one hour, he talks about buzzy topics like COVID-19 restrictions and vaccines, Squid Game, edibles, and Caitlyn Jenner. However, David shines most brightly when he’s simply reenacting weird noises and animal sounds.
His comedy has always been about his presence and self-deprecation, so while he aims for cultural relevance with the new special, David is still at his best when he sticks to what he knows. Sure, there’s a few good laughs and applause breaks, but it’s hard to discern if it’s his comedy or his fame that rouses the crowd.
David Spade: Nothing Personal
David Spade's newest stand-up special is an hour of somewhat culturally relevant jokes mixed in with his slight absurdity.
Release Date: April 26, 2022
Writer and Performer: David Spade
Director: Ryan Polito
David’s new special begins with a tepid joke about an older woman who feels like she has the right to hug him because she says, “I’m a hugger.” We’ve all heard people say this, and some of us have said it ourselves. David takes his own stance toward the popular phrase that leads to some truly ridiculous collections of words, such as “cameltoe grazer” and “bump a biscuit.”
It’s moments like this, when David is just getting silly and having fun, sometimes at his own expense, that make Nothing Personal worthy of our attention. A fun moment when he flicks off the cap of his water bottle, which might have been improvised, is probably one of the funniest jokes in the entire hour. But it’s such jokes that make us wish David leaned further into the absurdity and silliness of his physical, self-deprecating humor.
For those who want a special that’s going to change the face of comedy, this isn’t it. David clearly isn’t aiming to make waves with Nothing Personal — he just wants to make people laugh, which he does. There’s no shortage of jokes about male genitalia and condoms. Although, because David makes these jokes at his own expense, they are somewhat enjoyable and new.
But how many comedians need to get canceled for making trans jokes for them to stop making jokes about trans people? Admittedly, David’s joke about Caitlyn Jenner is relatively harmless when compared to the likes of Dave Chappelle.
But at the same time, jokes about trans people from straight white men are tired and unnecessary, so why bother? Please, just give us an hour without talking about a trans person. We dare you!
One of David’s funniest bits is when he mentions his time on Bachelor in Paradise and the many creepy crawly creatures he encountered. Nothing Personal is decent comedy. Is it groundbreaking? Not at all. Is there any experience he’s giving his audience beyond “an hour with famous comedian David Spade”? Not really.
The show starts with a joke about huggers and ends with a joke about airplane machismo. Nothing Personal is an hour of David cracking decent, yet shallow, jokes. But that's exactly what some people need right now.
For David’s fans and fans of traditional stand-up comedy, it’s not a waste of time. But for those who are looking for something more meaningful and thoughtful in their comedy, Nothing Personal is not it.