REVIEW: ‘One Night In Paris’ is Uneven and Mostly Not Good

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One Night in Paris - But Why Tho

One Night In Paris is a French-language Netflix Original comedy special starring some of France’s most popular comedians. It’s the first French-language comedy special produced by Netflix and features short stand-up sets with a few sketches in between. The show stars Roman Frayssinet, Kyan Khojandi, Djimo, Kev Adams, Bun-hay Mean, Vérino, Hakim Jemili, Pierre-Emmanuel Barré, Fadily Camara, Shirley Souagnon, Tom Villa, Camille Lellouche.

Comedy has been both essential and difficult during the pandemic. As it continues to rage on, having something to laugh about is important. But especially abroad, where lockdowns have been longer and more serious, the comedians have had to turn to more creative outlets for their craft, or other work entirely. One Night in Paris begins with a sketch poking fun at the ways comedians coped with their lack of audiences, both funny and poignant.

Then the show jumps suddenly into the first of many short stand-up sets. And wow does it start on the wrong foot. I nearly turned it off for how racist, offensive, and unfunny the first set was. Every joke from Roman Frayssinet was punching down and making fun of people, from heroin addicts to hypochondriacs. This was, unfortunately, a frequent theme throughout the program. Jokes about Asians and pangolins happened several times, as did uncomfortable jokes about being a hypochondriac or OCD. If your best jokes are at other people’s expenses, they’re not only not going to be funny, they’re not going to win an ounce of praise from me. I straight up skipped Bun-hay Mean it was just too offensive.

It wasn’t all drivel. Hakim Jemili, Djimo, and Shirley Souagnon had hilarious sets. They were all funny specifically because not only did they refrain from harping on trite Covid jokes, they weren’t insulting people. They had some self-depreciation, sure, but social commentary is entirely possible without stooping and all three of those comedians provided that with ease.

The biggest problem with the special though, besides the sets with truly poor taste, was that it was just so clearly recorded many months ago. The social markers have changed so dramatically and quickly throughout the pandemic that even commentary or jokes that could have made sense two months ago no longer might feel timely. So with most of the references and Covid-related content clearly having been developed at the near-beginning of 2021, a lot of the Covid-related comedy just felt annoying.

Some of it was just the comedians themselves. The jokes in some sets felt more like complaints and middlingly-informed punditry than funny political commentary. There were times where political jokes were cracked and wound up landing perfectly. The difference between the good and bad Covid jokes were obvious though: the good ones felt like levity in hard times, the bad ones felt like repetitions of tired ideas and complaints well-circulated internet-wide at the time. I know the pandemic was and continues to be top of mind, but it would be nice to laugh at something else for a change.

Lastly, the best parts of the show were the short sketches between a few of the sets. Camille Lellouche particularly had a good ongoing bit and there was a fun one that took place just after one comic’s set that felt like a bit of a continuation of one of his funnier jokes. I actually wish the entire special had been a sketch show in the vein of the few sketches that took place rather than the uneven stand-up that went on.

One Night In Paris is a very unbalanced set of stand-up acts and sketches where the funnier sets are overshadowed by too many ranging from unfunny to offensive.

One Night In Paris is streaming now on Netflix.


One Night In Paris
4.5/10

TL;DR

One Night In Paris is a very unbalanced set of stand-up acts and sketches where the funnier sets are overshadowed by too many ranging from unfunny to offensive.