Ivor Dembina (3 stars)

This article is from 2007.

Ivor Dembina

Free fun with a lewd slant

Those looking for some high-minded cultural reference may not get the tagline for Ivor Dembina’s show: Jewish Comedy: Free At Last. If truth be told, the veteran Jewish comic has something of a penchant for the age-old anti-Semitic stereotype of the tight-fisted hooknose. Dembina’s deeply personal take on the self-confessed, self-hating Jew is a hit and miss affair, though as a confessed sadomasochist, the hits land gratifyingly below the belt. Early in his run, the comic’s laissez-faire delivery lacked a little focus but he has a winning way with an audience, the baseness of his own projected self-image a perfect foil for needling a crowd. Above all, Dembina’s charm lies in a brutally candid and liberal outlook on politics and sexual deviance.

While the anecdotes themselves outshine their sometimes addendum punchlines, the whole experience is worth catching, if only to witness his account of haggling with a Jewish prostitute. The show might be free but this exchange is priceless. Dembina is also presenting a lunchtime run of old Jewish jokes which may better represent his comedic comfort zone, but it’s with his sudden lewd turns that this set triumphs. A little pace and Free At Last could yet prove a steal.

Laughing Horse@Linsay’s, 556 8974, until 18 Aug, 7.55pm, free.

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