Michelle Wolf: So Brave | Review by Steve Bennett
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Michelle Wolf: So Brave

Note: This review is from 2016

Review by Steve Bennett

Michelle Wolf’s biog starts with the fact that she recently joined the writing staff of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah – something you’d obviously want to boast about.

So as expected, she opens with satirical material about the US Presidential election. But it’s telling that she started with failed hopeful Ben Carson, despite being nowhere near as well-known as the final candidates, as a mark of setting her own agenda.

There’s also more on Hillary than Trump, refreshingly, and if you thought the late-night talk show hosts exhausted all the blow-job jokes while Bill Clinton was still in office, she’s got a silly new one.

As a liberal-leaning woman you might also expect Wolf to be something a Clinton cheerleader; but her take-out message is that a victory for the Democrat would ‘show women you could do anything you wanted to do… as long as your husband did it first.’

A great line, but it’s as if she didn’t get all the memos on what being a good feminist is supposed to entail. She marches to a slightly different beat; assuming that the equality fight is a given, she can move on. She can accept that not wanting children is a choice she can make without being judged, but also joke that her decision seems a waste of her body’s incredible potential.

Don’t call her approach brave, though, Wolf derides that adjective – along with its fellow positive but non-too-committal affirmation ‘beautiful’ – as having become bland through overuse, a go-to response for fear of expressing any other might offend.

It’s not a fear she seems to have. But while she’s sometimes contentious – abortion joke ahoy! – she presents material in a sprightly, approachable chatter that conceals the spikier edges. There are a few sections that bubble along uneventfully, and her ‘if men got periods’ bit seems cliched, both in idea and execution, especially given how fresh most of the rest of te hour seems

As you might suppose from a writer on a demanding TV show,who has been forged in the American comedy clubs, Wolf’s performance is confident and no-nonsense; her pace quick and her material brisk with punchlines that make hit efficiently, there’s no scope for waffle here. And there’s usually a playfulness to the material, as best seen in her closer, in which she sends increasingly nonsensical texts to a guy she’s trying to shake after a disastrous date.

After this, her UK debut, perhaps the British comedy audience can SMS her, as one: ‘I had a fun time last night… can we see each other again soon?’

Review date: 9 Aug 2016
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Pleasance Courtyard

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