Arts, Television, Review

Stand-Up Special Gets Dragged Down by Repetitive Jokes


Gary Owen’s new stand-up special, #DoinWhatIDo, hits a lot more than it misses, but those few misfires hold the show back from being a career-defining performance.

This new special aired on SHOWTIME at 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 8. It’s just over an hour long, and about 45 minutes of that runtime is well worth watching, but that extra 15 minutes drags it down. A large portion of that downtime consisted of callbacks to other jokes from earlier in the special, some of which weren’t worth reexamination.

The best bits from Owen’s set revolve around things he isn’t allowed to say as a white man married to a black woman, his experiences of being recruited by and eventually joining the Navy, and the various ways he gets attacked on social media. Each of those bits hits home with almost every punchline, and Owen’s wit is on its fullest display during those segments of the show.

That said, the show suffers during the segments when Owen riffs about bottle prices at clubs, his posting habits on Instagram, and his kids’ dating habits. For a majority of the jokes in these bits, the punchlines are just about the same and the joke becomes more about a catchphrase than anything else. Unfortunately, the catchphrase—“Doin’ What I Do”—which is also the title of the special, doesn’t really land as well as it could have.

The issue with Owen’s execution of these catchphrase jokes is in his lack of subtlety. Now, catchphrases aren’t exactly subtle in themselves, but at least Jeff Foxworthy doesn’t try to over explain the joke every time he says “Here’s Your Sign” in one of his specials. Without fail, whenever Owen uses the catchphrase “Doin’ What I Do,” he explains the joke immediately after saying it despite it having been thoroughly explained just minutes before. Even the final joke of the entire show does this, and it comes off as one of the weakest moments of the special because the actual punchline isn’t the last thing he says before he thanks the audience and steps off the stage.

Despite these issues, there are quite a few gut-busting jokes and bits throughout the show’s runtime, but those dull moments and lackluster punchlines really hurt the special’s memorability. There isn’t a signature joke that makes this particular set something that will be remembered years or maybe even months from now. Instead, this special will likely wash into the vast sea of stand-up shows available to stream online—it’s above average but certainly not a classic. Maybe for Owen, though, this is just another example of him doing what he does.

Featured Image by SHOWTIME

September 15, 2019