Originally from Edmonton, Alberta, Dana Alexander started stand-up when she was 18, going on to establish herself as a regular at such clubs as the Yuk Yuk’s chain. Billed as the only black female comic on the Canadian comedy circuit, she voted a 'best discovery' by Now Magazine in 2006.
She moved to the UK in 2011, making her Edinburgh Fringe debut that same year. She was then nominated for best club comic in the 2012 Chortle Awards
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Dana Alexander: Fringe 2012
Dana Alexander is one of the UK’s great Canadian comedy imports; we’ve been lucky enough to have her a working round Great Britain for the last year and something and Breaking Through is her second solo show for Edinburgh.
But it was a bit disappointing, more of an extended club set than a show, burning off material that’s been in use for a few months.
Plus this particular gig was slightly sabotaged by one very drunk and enthusiastic audience member who would have been a pain in the arse in a club on a Saturday night, where he would have been summarily dealt with crushing abuse and possibly ejection. However, following the unwritten tradition of Edinburgh shows, she was endlessly polite with her put-downs, although clearly annoyed. She was also apparently freaked out because she had reviewers in.
Given that she was doing a very clubby set, nobody would have held it against her had she given him both barrels, it wasn’t as though he was disrupting any kind of story arc. Unfortunately it was impossible to tell whether she had unconsciously reverted to a club set because of him, or whether that had been her intention all along.
Alexander had a ton of material, including a surprisingly ingratiating few minutes with digs at the English to keep the Scots onside, very much along the lines of the ‘It’s nice here, the next town’s shit’ circuit shtick. What else? Some astute and funny observations about the London riots and living in the thick of it all, Jamaican grannies, senility and smoking weed.
Rather irritatingly she started down the ‘I don’t like getting old, I’m aging’ route. She’s 30 for crying out loud. Apart from two teenagers down the front, I’m sure nobody else in the audience would see 35 again. It was not quite as bad as some 26-year-old open spot talking about getting old, but it was just plain insulting as a topic.
The wheels properly fell off, in Edinburgh show terms, as she started in on the dick and pussy jokes, in a fairly disjointed manner. It is difficult to come up with genuinely hysterically funny filth – vulgarity just for a reaction is far more commonplace, and thus tedious, and I can’t really believe that this was her calling card for the festival circuit.
I have to review the show I saw, which was a bit of a mess, but I do think I got it on an unfortunate off-night. She’s usually a powerful and composed performer. But not tonight.