wed 13/12/2017

Michelle Wolf, Soho Theatre | reviews, news & interviews

Michelle Wolf, Soho Theatre

Michelle Wolf, Soho Theatre

US comic mixes the personal and political

American comic Michelle Wolf writes for The Daily ShowMindy Tucker

American comic Michelle Wolf was nominated for best newcomer at this year's Edinburgh Comedy Awards with this show, So Brave, but she is also a writer on The Daily Show With Trevor Noah. She's an acute observer both of human quirks and the American political scene.

It's a shame then that this show – which doesn't quite stretch to an hour – hasn't been added to in order to reflect the seismic events in US politics since Wolf appeared in the Scottish capital during August. Sure, her opening line, referencing the election, is a sardonic: “What a time to be alive,” but that's the last we hear of the new President of the United States. An open goal has been missed.

Her show is a pleasing mix of political insight and personal reflection

There is, however, a lengthy section about how Wolf wanted Hillary Clinton to be elected. It would have been a first for a woman, of course, and she talks about how she feels sorry for white men as, having run everything for ever, they will now never get to do things first. Just imagine, she says, you wanted to be a successful male Olympic athlete and then become a woman – sorry, but that's already been done.

Wolf is not afraid to upset liberal sensitivities, then. Reflecting on how many have said Caitlyn Jenner has been “so brave” about her transgender status, Wolf is less than sisterly about how she now looks, and poses the question: would it make any difference to the family of the woman killed in a car crash involving Jenner's car whether it was Bruce or Caitlyn driving?

But her provocative jokes are not shock-jock; rather she allows some gags (about abortion, for example) to take a slow burn before the audience realise what the riff is about. It's a neat trick, and symptomatic of a writer who has a real feel not just for language, but for timing too.

She also takes some clever sideswipes at celebrity – Justin Bieber and “the one who isn't Beyoncé or Kelly Rowland from Destiny's Child”, among others, get a mention – and she has a pleasingly original take on social media, periods, testicles and feminism. Quite a range.

Wolf is a terrific performer and has undeniably good material, and her show is a pleasing mix of political insight and personal reflection, but not to update the political content with her take on Donald Trump seems a weird choice, and to some might appear as just lazy.

Michelle Wolf is at Soho Theatre, London W1 until 30 December

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