Live Review: An Evening With Jen Kirkman

23 March 2016 | 1:59 pm | Hannah Story

"Unabashed, brutally honest, and side-splitting."

The Comedy Store feels like a New York comedy room. You wouldn't think so, wandering through the Entertainment Quarter, then up several flights of stairs, but the low lighting, the flameless candles, the table service — it feels warm in this room, the crowd eager to laugh.

And do they laugh — Rhys Nicholson opens for us, borrowing from last year's show Forward (a good taster for what we can expect at Bona Fide next month!). His delivery is on point, and jokes about being mugged ("I want you to know this was random. This was not a hate crime"), touring Ipswich, and taking care of his relationship's "collage needs". Nicholson is a brilliant comic — and at only 25 we can expect much much more.

Jen Kirkman looks younger than 41, but she wouldn't want us saying that. She dives right into improvising about the events of her day, mainly using the section to rail against a hairdresser who "hadn't heard of her" and dismissed her as a comedian. Then it's into prepared material, something for everybody — from people who saw her live in 2015, to those who caught her Netflix special, to newbies. Sections on being a single woman, relationships, catcalling and more are Kirkman at her best — unashamedly feminist and dynamic, exploring what it means to be a woman "of a certain age", who wants to stay home and certainly doesn't want to be pitied. A closing bit on road rage reveals more about Kirkman's psyche than some would care to know — but is hilarious, and what we love about her, unabashed, brutally honest, and side-splitting.

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