I left the best ’til last. As my final show of Melbourne International Comedy Festival, I saw Canadian ‘gentleman elf’ Deanne Smith (good friend of 2017 Barry winner Hannah Gadsby) in her latest show, Post-Joke Era.
Openly lesbian, Deanne’s onto all things contemporary — and political. Declaring herself a ‘punk feminist’, she gets comfortable with uncomfortable topics from moment one. Because she looks so darn cute doing it, in her miniature checked shirt, her hipster wooden bowtie, and handsome arm tatts, she could skin a small child in front of you and your eyes would still be glued to the stage.
Deanne is charmingly offensive. Her chipper delivery of hard truths wins you over whilst alienating some major power groups. The patriarchy, for starters.
She’s very clever with words, loves everyday irony, and is our champion for zeitgeist interrogations of the ‘now’. Deanne is middle-aged (interesting formula) and wonders whether as a lesbian, it’s acceptable for her to walk a chihuahua and not a pit bull? She’s also over compulsory hummus. Underestimating female comedians is a pet peeve, as well as outdated structures which exclude. Her throwdown of a series of microphones was a killer moment for those who like to smash structures.
Other topics she wrestles in her show include depression medication, Fitzroy hipsters, the guilt of SMSing strangers, and other on-trend questions. She also kneecaps hetero males in the audience, and everywhere else. My fave skit was where she advises men on ‘how easy it is to please a woman’, like they’ve been letting the team down. Her subjects and their humiliations are relished by her fans.
Sadly, she didn’t achieve her ultimate moment — to crowdsurf atop the crowd. But she is our brave superhero who soars above convention, defying language and social prescriptivism, leading the way. We love you and hold you on high Deanne!
Sarah W. is a dance-trained theatre lover with a flair for the bold and non-traditional performance platforms. On the street or in the box seat, she looks for quality works that push the envelope.
Post-Joke Era ran 30 March–23 April, 8:30pm (60 minutes) at Taxi Riverside. The venue is accessible. Check out her website for Australian touring details.