Jena Friedman: American C*nt
Borderline humour with a raw intelligence at its heart
This article is from 2015.
Admitting from the off that there is quite an elephant in the room, Jena Friedman tentatively confronts the issue of her show title. But it’s not the ‘cunt’ that we should be upset by, it’s surely the ‘American’ bit? This deft bit of side-stepping footwork is a tactic she applies throughout her hour, a show riddled with a sly intelligence and a fair smattering of contentious material (just the one walk-out, though, at the point where she reflects on the statistical likelihood that many of us in the room will get cancer).
Passionate for her feminism, she is wary when words become trendy, and extremely cautious when hearing people say that it’s hard to be a ‘woman born in a man’s body’. As ever with Friedman, her rationale for a belief (or joke) is not for the reason you might immediately think. There are a couple of obligatory 9/11 gags (both hit the mark), and references to American personalities such as Fallon Fox (a transgender mixed martial arts fighter) and Bernie Sanders (think the Democratic party’s Jeremy Corbyn) who few of us might know in-depth, but the points she makes from them are well taken.
Friedman’s main focus is on how hard it is to be a ‘woman in a woman’s body’, especially if you happen to be over 60. In a typically skilful move, she brings it all back home by tying that issue into the next presidential campaign. You might not like what Jena Friedman says or the way she says it, but her voice deserves to be heard.
The Stand 5, 558 7272, until 30 Aug, 7.30pm, £8 (£7).