With confusion and fear dominating almost every waking moment, there’s something to be said for Kevin James’ particular brand of numbskull comedy. Our minds battered senseless by a year that only seems to get increasingly bizarre and miserable with each passing day, now may be the best possible time to sit back, throw on a video of James’ frolicking through the woods in a bear costume, and see if The Artist Formerly Known As Blart’s clown-man antics can inspire a laugh.
In Nature Planet, the latest video from James’ YouTube channel, Adam Sandler supplies a David Attenborough-style narration of an “endangered species” called “The Silver-Breasted Montle.” The Montle is Kevin James in a furry grey bear costume. For five entire minutes, we watch James (and sometimes multiple Jameses) forage through bushes, climb trees, and swim around. Later, they’re hunted by giant eagles. We see a survivor sniff the air, howl in misery, and give birth to a baby. Throughout all of this, James’ mug sticks out of a fur hood and he makes a lot of goofy faces.
That’s the whole joke. An adult man wordlessly plays in the woods while a well-known comedian pretends to be a natural historian narrating his behavior. The fool gambols around for our amusement. We sway back and forth in our seats, clapping our hands and gurgling with delight. Despite it all—despite the horrors and frustrations of the era—Kevin James endures, finding in our porridge-brains the perfect audience for his material. The world whimpers, James laughs, and we are made to laugh right back at him.
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