Janeane Garofalo (3 stars)

This article is from 2009.

Janeane Garofalo

Hack material just about given the right twist

This year’s big hitting easily misspelled US comedy star (is it Leifer or Liefer? Are you sure Pinette hasn’t got two ‘n’s?) had much to prove on her arrival in Edinburgh. Maybe not to herself (the public Janeane Garofalo persona might have some psychological flaws that are merrily played on but a cocky assuredness is not among them) but certainly to those who shelled out for tickets in advance of her recent Latitude disaster (blame it all you want on the noisy stage, people, but it didn’t prevent Ed Byrne going on straight afterwards and staying longer than scheduled).

‘You know, man, I really don’t know what to expect here’, pipes up one North American voice behind. Whatever was expected of her, it’s fair to report that Garofalo’s hour may not have written itself into Americana Fringe folklore the way last year’s Louis CK shows did, but at least she didn’t read her whole act off a crib sheet à la Carol Leifer. Leaping off the stage and running down the aisles as an intro seemed a mite Vegas for one with such a counter-culture, grunge-left background but she soon got into her stride with material about the anti-Obama brigade and Bush, all of which was routinely agreeable. Though being so exasperated with her compatriots for allowing the Republican party to rule for so long may understandably leave someone lost for words, but not when you’re watching a comedian and awaiting a punchline.

Predictable but moreish material about the weird things she’s discovered while on British soil included cricket (what’s that all about?) and deep-fried Mars Bars (yep, really) while themes of her ageing and the frailty of the human body (men and their tough skin: what’s that all about?) were picked at. Yet not once did she make you wish you were elsewhere. Sometimes amiability, rather than blistering material, can actually carry the day.

Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622 6552, until 15 Aug, 8.30pm, £12 (£11).

Janeane Garofalo

  • 3 stars

Emmy nominated actress and comedian Janeane Garofalo has been an American institution since she burst on the scene in 1992. 'A fine hour of stand-up in anyone's books' (Chortle.co.uk).

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