Review: Jack Whitehall, “I’m Only Joking” (Netflix)

Jack Whitehall’s a big deal in Britain, but still a bit of an unknown to American audiences, despite multiple Netflix specials and TV series.

I cannot help but feel Whitehall’s stand-up will only translate well with American viewers who’ve already fallen for the Netflix travel series he does with his father.

As I wrote for Decider:

I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, that Whitehall was merely warming us all up for something truly insightful, and he almost got there. He has a moment of self-realization, that we’re internally jealous of others who seem to be living their best lives. That Greta Thunberg at 17 has put all of us to shame with her activism. That Whitehall himself sees anyone doing positive things and wants to say “Oh, good for you,” while muttering profanities with his inside voice.

But it’s when he makes his father, Michael Whitehall, the butt of his jokes that he’s most revealing. For an episode of Who Do You Think You Are? on the BBC, the Whitehalls look into their family tree to discover: “My father comes from a long line of a–holes, it turns out.” I noticed in 2017 that he was a “cheeky bastard,” but he’s really just another in a long line of a-holes.

Son Jack closes the hour with one more story about his father. “The reality is I love him dearly, and I never take for granted how lucky I am to get to spend that time traveling around the world with him. And I’m so proud of him, as well, for how much he puts himself out of his comfort zone to do the stuff that we do.” Even when Jack’s the one pushing his dad into uncomfortable situations.

Read my full review of Jack Whitehall’s “I’m Only Joking”

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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