8.5

Alice Hamilton's Mini Special Cex Kriminal Is a Relentless Takedown of Comedy Creeps

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Alice Hamilton's Mini Special <i>Cex Kriminal</i> Is a Relentless Takedown of Comedy Creeps

I’ve never liked roasts. There’s something disingenuous about ripping into someone for your whole set, then ending it with an “I love you man!” before heading offstage. That fake veneer of affection has always soured me on the concept, much more so than the mean-spiritedness at the heart of roasts.

Cex Kriminal, a mini comedy special by Alice Hamilton (and named for a tweet she made about Louis C.K. back in 2018), is better than any roast I’ve ever seen because there is no claim of fondness here, just outright hate for the subject at hand, Chris D’Elia (among others). In case you’re not familiar with why D’Elia sucks, here’s our own Garrett Martin on the subject in June 2020:

Chris D’Elia… has been accused of sexual misconduct towards minors by numerous women over the last day. Young women from throughout the U.S. and Canada have shared similar stories online about D’Elia’s sexual harassment, including accusations of grooming minors, soliciting nudes from girls under 18, inviting minors to hang out after shows, offering to fly women he met online to Los Angeles, and, in one case, even threatening to use nude photographs to blackmail one into visiting him in L.A.

Hamilton isn’t posturing, but straight up taking down her target the best she can. And her best is pretty damn amazing.

You may remember Hamilton from her viral tweet in December 2021 about how a booker decided not to use the headshot she sent over for a show’s flier, instead opting for a more revealing photo. She’s originally from Portland, Oregon, but is now based in Los Angeles.

Hamilton delivers jokes at a rapid-fire pace throughout Cex Kriminal, giving each one just enough time to land before moving onward and making it clear that she’s here for a good time, not a long time.

“But he’s not the only one who got in trouble, so let’s talk about the rest of them,” Hamilton says less than halfway through the show, taking a swig of water before embarking on her next verbal sprint. She knows how to sell a moment. Hamilton keeps up the clipped pace for the laundry list of other comedians she name checks (for various reasons, not all sexual assault-related), from Louis C.K., to Iliza Shlesinger, to Brad Williams.

In terms of pure joke writing, Hamilton’s clearly honed her craft. Whether doing a self-contained bit or a one-liner, she’s an incredibly concise and hilarious comedian. Her quick wit means that she packs in an incredible amount of jokes in just under a half hour, really giving the audience their money’s worth (and we’re just lucky to be watching for free from the comfort of our homes). All of this is sold by Hamilton’s sparing, but impeccably timed physical comedy and her exasperated attitude, the latter of which captures the outrage and exhaustion felt by so many female comedians.

Part of what makes Hamilton so funny is how she subverts the language used by misogynists. She repurposes D’Elia’s tweets during the show to great effect, and also has a spectacular joke about Theo Von that lampoons a popular refrain of rape culture. By understanding her targets, Hamilton is best able to insult them.

Hamilton skewers the comedic establishment and shines a light on her own talent in less than a half hour. Between her exasperated cadence and barbed jokes, Hamilton makes an impressive debut in Cex Kriminal.

Cex Kriminal is streaming for free on YouTube.


Clare Martin is a cemetery enthusiast and Paste’s assistant comedy editor. Go harass her on Twitter @theclaremartin.