Comedienne

I have it on good authority that, even in this decade, stand-up comedy is still a difficult nut to crack for the smart, talented and funny women out there trying to make their mark. The terms "female comedian" or, worse, "comedienne", are often death-sentences which carry the dreaded and implied subtext: "she's funny, for a woman."

Sarah Gaul's show Comedienne is certainly operating in this space. She's a gifted and charming musical comedian, but she takes pains to explain the expectations she is operating within. I'm certain it's the basic disarming that is necessary to get the audience on board for her anti-Disney antics, which are decidedly princess-centric, but the message she makes is important enough it hardly matters that she opts to spell it out so clearly.

Gaul's a gifted lyricist, and she is not only very capable where it comes to putting in verse what is difficult to express in person, she's also, quite frankly, very funny. Her songs follow an established comedic rhythm: the first verse marks the setting, the second builds into mild silliness, and any subsequent verses get progressively more absurd, some of them reaching the peaks of abject hilarity. (You'll need to see her show to understand why, but the phrase "And I pushed him back in" is still making me smile to myself days later.)

And in the material itself Gaul finds a wide set of targets, from acting-school wankers and the importance of a nice dress shirt, to the overly-insistent people you meet on dating sites and the overwhelming loneliness of a "me night". There's also the expected dig at vegans, who are surely the most acceptable target in comedy these days, but even that song is lifted in that it's as much about the trilemma of social politeness, personal values, and wanting to make a good impression that sits at the nexus of any first date.

Sarah Gaul is a gifted musical comedian with an impressive repertoire of songs, and Comedienne is well worth checking out.

★★★½