The Just For Laughs Festival is taking place in Montreal, and Art Threat’s Kristi Kouchakji is there to review the politically-tinged humour for us.
Luisa Omielan’s What Would Beyoncé Do?
Despite some terrible promotional copy, Luisa Omielan’s What Would Beyoncé Do? seemed promising. A single 30-something woman moving back in with her mother holds a lot of potential for comedy gold, as well as discussions about the economic reality facing under-40s and Beyoncé’s status as a new feminist icon.
While Omielan is funny, charming, and completely unafraid to share some of her darkest moments, much of her material seems like it’s going somewhere interesting only to hit a wall of banality that undermines the intended spirit of her show as well as her obvious intelligence.
Particularly disappointing is a running gag that begins with Omielan viciously making fun of her bulimic school friends while simultaneously hating on her own body — definitely not a thing Beyoncé would do.
That said, there are some good moments throughout, and her takedown of The Rules-style approaches to dating is a high point. Also notable is a powerful segment on her reaction to her brother’s struggle with depression: Omielan holds very little back, and the result is breathtakingly raw.
The tangible emotion here kills the show’s momentum, however, and developing the segment as a Fringe show would do the issue, Omielan, and her brother far more justice than awkwardly wedging it into a stand-up act.
Luisa Omielan’s What Would Beyoncé Do? is at MainLine Theatre from July 21-26. Tickets available here. WWBD will also be at the Edinburgh Festival in August.
David O’Doherty’s ongoing search for happiness has taken him through a delightfully snarky thought process that he shares in a solid sixty minutes of material covering consumer culture, advertising, corporate sponsorship, Lance Armstrong, ghost stories told by his seven-year-old niece, and more.
Keyboard at the ready, O’Doherty keeps the momentum going by punctuating his act with hilariously terrible and on-point songs. While this has been his gimmick from the outset, he has become much more self-assured over the past few years and the songs now emphasize and add to his sharp observations and strong presence rather than being the whole show in and of themselves.
Well worth seeing at least once, not a single word or moment is wasted here; it’s entirely possible to laugh so hard that a bitingly funny and accurate comment is nearly missed.
David O’Doherty performs July 22 & 24 at Cabaret Underworld, in Dublin July 26 and 27 (the man’s energy knows no bounds), and at the Edinburgh Festival in August. Tickets for Montreal shows are available here.