Deanne Smith: Post-Joke Era | Review by Steve Bennett at the Melbourne Comedy Festival

Deanne Smith: Post-Joke Era

Review by Steve Bennett at the Melbourne Comedy Festival

Post-joke world? Not a chance with Deanne Smith’s brisk and breezy romp through some hot-button issues. Gender politics, white privilege and mental health are the touchtones of this invigorating hour – which is always relevant, but never reverent.

For she has silly jokes about it all, not least the very notion that she should be the spokesperson for anything. She’s self-aware enough to realise the  ‘queer punk poet’ that she’d like to picture herself as is at odds with the more overpowering baggage that comes with being a near-enough middle-aged white lady.

In that spirit she has the best mic-drop moment you’ll ever see, as she mocks the idea that she has truth bombs to detonate. Though in truth her engaging, energetic, and slightly scatty approach, playfully engaging the audience. is far more effective than any in-your-face preacher addressing the converted.

With her geek-chic look, Smith has a few hipster tendencies, to be sure, including being into things before they were cool. Like depression for instance. The subject is not laboured for emotional heft, but informs the way she’s someone struggling a bit with life – and isn’t that everyone?

Moving effortlessly between talking about her black dog, and her actual dog, offers some silly domestic insights, cheery self-deprecation again providing the overwhelming tone.

She lives with her girlfriend, and with gender identity an increasingly pertinent subject, Smith’s discussion of feeling agender – or being a ‘funny little man-lady-or-whatever’ as one actually well-meaning audience member called her – couldn’t be more relevant.

And as is her style, this is not presented as a strident social point, just a likeable comic gabbing away about her everyday self-image, and why she isn’t fully on board with the genderless pronoun ‘they’. Agender doesn’t mean agenda, or at least not a slavish adherence to one.

It’s easy to mention all the social topics that this clued-up Canadian touches upon, but the driving force of Post-Joke Era is cheeky fun, and Smith offers that in spades.

Review date: 5 Apr 2017
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