Review: DeAnne Smith – About Freakin’ Time
About Freakin’ Time
Starring: DeAnne Smith
Appearing at: Melbourne Town Hall, for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival
DeAnne Smith was pushing shit uphill from the get-go tonight, and I’m not entirely sure why. This Canadian comic – well-received in guest spots on Good News Week, featured in Last Comic Standing, genuinely witty – kept smiling, on her toes and cracking wise for the hour, but it didn’t quite stick.
It might possibly be due to her path up that hill. She isn’t exactly the wackiest personality with the most off-piste material, but she certainly isn’t a straight stand-up. For a start, she’s not straight in the sexuality sense, which brought a more refreshing perspective to her choice of the usual suspect subjects. It added a nice sting to her take on babies, and relationships, and religion. But why choose the usual suspect subjects?
Either way, it was a refreshingly parallel run to the well-trodden track, sharp and wry with some lovely little hooks peppered throughout; her Oscar wind-up music, the ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ big red button, and a bang-on “hack comedian” persona all appeared exactly when needed.
She also wandered willingly into the woods by sectioning off exactly six-and-a-half minutes to have a perilous “chat with the audience” at the halfway point. Damn crowd was shithouse for riffing on the spot, but thankfully Smith was as agile as a mountain goat, managing to skewer audience members tenderly and grab some hard-earned laughs.
The occasional ukulele-accompanied songs that fattened up the show (we may as well ignore the flimsy pretence that the show was about “time”, despite some thoughtful bookends) could’ve been dire but weren’t, so we’ll round them up to “pleasant surprises”.
Therefore she did an unexpectedly good job averting potential show-killers. Henceforth, she’s better when taking risks.
This stuff suits her quick tongue and precise self-awareness. While she joked that she looked like Justin Bieber, I couldn’t help thinking that she’s got more Tina Fey in the face. Most likely it’s her lively comedic mind that lent those glasses a Liz Lemon twist in my mind. Plus, Smith sure embraces her own insecurities.
So, Smith beat her separate path but wasn’t quite rewarded by an oddly fragmented audience. The personality is totally there; she’s absolutely one to watch. Even now. I can see her putting on excellent shows, and soon. But she ploughed a hard row tonight.
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