An alternative and arresting set
This article is from 2007.
It’s not often that a comedian invites the audience to join in a chirpy singalong about children drowning in the Titanic disaster. It’s even rarer that it has the crowd in stitches. But then it’s not often you see a comedian like Rebecca Drysdale. Young, American, Jewish and gay, she blew the critics away two years ago at the Aspen Comedy Festival and scored herself a TV deal with HBO. Making her UK debut in Edinburgh, she brings a multi-media set to showcase her oddball, massively likeable material. She believes that in order to understand someone, you need to look at all the different pieces that make them.
So we see Rebecca the 13-year-old delivering a speech at her Bat Mitzvah: ‘Thanks for giving me the opportunity to dress like a doily and sit in the corner in silent anger.’ There’s Rebecca the wannabe rapper, doing a three-minute freestyle using only the words ‘shit’, ‘nigger’, ‘come on’, ‘what’ and ‘yeah’. We have Rebecca the confused lesbian, explaining the butch versus femme debate using a Dr Seuss-style kids poem. Her scripted stuff is deliciously un-PC, original and surprising, and her Wallace and Gromit-like cartoon grimaces eke out laughs even during the moments of silence.
After prancing about in a gladiator costume and describing a disco dancing date with a man who’d previously tried to rape her, she has the audience in the palm of her hand, so that her jokes on AIDS, Asians and the disabled get a warm reception before the crowd has time to think whether it’s OK to laugh out loud or not. A slightly cheesy ending veers towards therapist couch psychobabble, and there are one too many references to ‘cleansing herself’ and finding her ‘inner child’, but that aside, this is fresh, fearless, alternative stuff.
Baby Belly, 0870 745 3083, until 26 Aug (not 13), 7.35pm, £9.50–£10.50 (£8.50–£9.50).