Families are messy. They’re eccentric bands of characters that are stubborn in tradition and annoying in their differences. There’s nowhere to hide around your family. They see all, know all—or know nothing and act like they know everything—but sometimes they are all you got. That’s why it’s hard to make off-colored jokes at family members’ expense in a palatable way. People love their family and often recoil at any vitriol, comedic or otherwise, contrary to those values. Lavell loves his family too, but he’s still has to make fun of them; he still has to render them for an audience through his exaggerated pantomime. One could argue that to joke about somebody, to cut them to the quick, to hit them where it hurts, is an act of love. To wheedle an insecurity or mimic a voice requires time, attention and care, observation and understanding. Lavell is masterful at saying shocking and outrageous things about his family members, while remaining loving and lovable. This combination of tribute and mockery is Lavell Crawford’s greatest achievement. If you have a moment away from the children, the elderly or other sensitive ears, celebrate this season with the side-splitting Home For the Holidays, now on Laughly!