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Show type: Misc live shows
Curb your Enthusiasmís Susie Essman makes her British stand-up debut at the 2007 Newbury Comedy Festival
Having played the venomous Susie Greene for all five series, Curb you Enthusiasm, the Manhattan based Essman is a veteran of the world of stand-up comedy, logging thousands of performances on the New York comedy circuit.
Original Review:If audiences know Susie Essman at all, itís from Curb Your Enthusiasm, where she plays the aggressive, vitriolic foul-mouthed harpy wife of Larry Davidís rotund manager and only real friend.
The spectre of that thoroughly unpleasant character hangs over her stand-up, too. The audience expect the same bilious outbursts, and sheís keen to play up the image,
She immediately exudes the no-nonsense aura befitting her status as a battle-hardened New York Jewess and is blunt to the point of rudeness, not that she would give a damn about causing any offence.
When she sticks to that tale-no-prisoners approach, she hits the mark, sounding at her best like Joan Rivers in her acidic prime. But her tough faÁade slowly slips, and so does the power of her act.
She isnít, it turns out, quite so thick-skinned about how sheís conceived on her debut UK show, fearing the reaction of the uptight English folk of genteel Newbury Ė or New-berry as she insists on pronouncing it. She keeps seeking reassurance that we get the references or that we understand the odd Yiddish idiom, which undermines that crucial brash confidence.
She performs almost entirely to the front row, badgering them with ceasesless questions about their jobs, their relationships, their sex lives. At first it builds rapport, and finds her a few stooges to play the role of randy youngster or rich-but-impotent senior. But itís subject to diminishing returns, especially with an audience who donít particularly want to play along. We want the act, not a conversation.
And what of that act? Again it starts strong but soon withers as she starts what seems to be the core of the show: a list of 20 pieces of advice she wants to give to her step-daughter Ė and yes, they are all about sex. Essman said she wrote it on the plane over from the States, which if itís true shows a reckless disrespect for an audience who might expect honed material. If itís just a line to perpetuate the stand-upís illusion of spontaneity,, then why does the idea feel so lightweight and underdeveloped?
The piece peters out, with Essman not bothering to get beyond about point 14 or so. Iím not sure the exact point, as I stopped counting. And caring.
The audienceís attention saps , too. It may be an obvious thing to say, but their enthusiasm quickly curbs itself.
She tries to turn things around, but nothing really works. She desperately asks if there are any questions from the crowd about her TV show. There are none, embarrassingly.
Then she invents a tedious survey in which the type of dog a man has is supposed to reveal what heís like in the bedroom. People shout out a few breeds, she slings back a few basic insults. Then even she seems to get bored with how vacuous and unsuccessful this is, and calls an abrupt end to the show. No climax, no big finish. She just says itís over, and walks off.
Along the way, she occasionally found some enjoyable material,, such as the impression of her Jewish mother that avoided the obvious stereotype. But too often the ideas are tired Ė how often have we heard about the spark going out of long-term relationships? - and her pronouncements not quite as shocking as she seems to think they are.
Itís possible her abrasive shtick and lascivious banter would work better in the rough-and-tumble of a rowdy comedy club. But put her in a theatre, raise expectations, and the deficiencies in her material become all-too apparent.
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Susie Essman is hilarious. I found this widget online. It features Susie cursing up a storm much like on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Enjoy! http://bit.ly/47XOGx