Carly Smallman: The Appalling Carly Smallman | Review by Hilary Wardle
review star review star review star review blank star review blank star

Carly Smallman: The Appalling Carly Smallman

Note: This review is from 2013

Review by Hilary Wardle

She might have the bustling, good natured, bossy demeanour of a particularly jolly primary school teacher, but Carly Smallman spends an hour sharing a series of increasingly mucky and co-conspiratorial anecdotes about her life.

But despite the title, her stories and behaviour didn’t seem terribly appalling at all. In comedy landscape that includes Frankie Boyle, her anecdotes about lying to potential boyfriends about her hobbies and misleading her classmates at primary school don’t feel particularly scandalous. Even her most eyebrow-raising revelation doesn’t really cause much of a stir (after all, he was above the age of consent. Just).

Although the chatty, confessional sections don’t always flow that well, the songs compensate and give Smallman a chance to shine. When the guitar comes out, she’s transformed from a slightly annoying, overly-confident posh girl at a party into a solid, polished musical comedian with a real gift for finding words that rhyme with vagina.

One particular highlight was a catchy little number about being self-employed, I Only Did Ten Minutes Work Today, which was quick, witty and very relatable. In fact, you’d be forgiven for thinking she put it in on purpose to appeal to freelance comedy critics.

Though fragmentary, it’s hard not to be drawn into a show that features a vivacious ex-psychology teacher (who looks like a voluptuous, younger version of Jenny Éclair) drawing a graph of her life’s low points. A graph that has some surprising –and very funny- spikes that largely relate to her sexual misadventures. Carly’s relentless energy and endless barrage of confessions can get a bit tiring at times, but you’ll certainly learn a lot.

Review date: 14 Aug 2013
Reviewed by: Hilary Wardle

What do you think?

Today's comedy-on demand picks


Emma Sidi has taken great care to replicate the authentic feel of 1980s Spanish-language telenovelas in this spot-on parody, set in contemporary small-town England and which she describes as 'a bit Acorn Antiques, bit Garth Marenghi'.

At her mother's untimely funeral, Becky Hello (a typical British millennial as imagined by Mexican writers who have never been to the UK) discovers she has inherited a fortune. But it isn't long before nefarious family members begin to circle, and Becky must keep her wits about her if she is to avoid the same fate as her mother.

Click for more suggestions

... including a series of six films of Ross Noble on tour and Beef House, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim's absurd take on the 1990s sitcom.

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.