Nasty Girls at Montreal Just For Laughs 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Steve Bennett

It’s quite a coup for Gina Yashere to be hosting the detestosteronated younger sister of the Nasty Show, just two years after she was introduced to North Americans with her short-lived appearance on NBC’s Last Comic Standing.

But you certainly can’t question her credentials for nastiness. This, after all, is a woman who is happy to chronicle her regular colonic irrigations on the web, complete with YouTube clips of her own waste swirling down pipes. Now that’s proper nasty.

Such scatological themes form a central plank of her stand-up, too, provoking winces even among this sell-out audience with her tales of poo and dirty underwear. She’s not straight in there – there’s a bit of explanation about her London accent (‘yes, we have black people in England, too!’) and some ridiculously easy shots about ‘dumb as fuck’ Americans by way of icebreakers, but it’s not long till she’s getting her hands dirty.

Much of her material hovers between the predictable and the unpleasant, though she’s got the chutzpah and energy to sell both well. But her best routine, about a trip to a Jamaican funeral home, involved neither frenetic delivery nor plumbing the depths, and was all the more enjoyable for it.

The first act she introduced, Rachel Feinstein, began with some silly quips about her most Jewish of names, before pondering the whys and wherefores of dating and metrosexual men. She’s an engaging presence with astute observations   and, in the case of the wry descriptions of the hassle she gets from lascivious men in the street, entertainingly accurate impersonations to illustrate them. She was perhaps too naturally conversational in her delivery to have them rolling in the aisle, but it was fun spending time with her.

Def Comedy Jam alumnus B-Phlat was the opposite: all supercharged energy and hyperactively physical delivery, from the very moment she did her ‘skanky-leg’ dance on to the stage to a pumping hip-hop beat. Behind all the noise and bluster, however, the set involves little more than mentioning filthy imagery – her ‘sticky coochie’ being a particular favourite – but rammed home with unflagging pace, forceful rhythm and relentless swearing. Her act is about 40 per cent ‘motherfucker’ and at its heart quite dull (How to tell if your man is gay? Use a strap-on) that all the whistles and bells try to disguise.

Star of the show, for me, and many others, was Nikki Payne, a self-described ‘angry little hobbit’ from Newfoundland whose insane intensity is as mesmerising as it is terrifying. She tells us, at about 3,000 words a minute and in a voice that is simultaneously shrill and lisping, about how she donated a kidney to her father, a terrible man she seems to hold in utter contempt. There are no noble heroics in her sacrifice; this is a tale of medical humiliations, miserable family reminiscences and angry repercussions. She has a full-length solo show in Montreal about these experiences, which, on the strength this hilarious sample has gotta be worth seeing. She really has got a special gift.

Headlining was Thea Vidale, who is also on the original Nasty Show, reviewed yesterday. Indeed, when she embarked on the same lowest-common-denominator routine (‘How could I tell they were Africans?’… ‘Because they stank’), I made my excuses and left before she revealed, yet again, how to give the perfect blow job. Once is one time to many to hear this nonsense.

Review date: 21 Jul 2009
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