De-Amn! [by Matt Baker]
While the world would be a better place without feeling the need to have to mention gender politics, it does need to be noted that if a comedienne can have the male 30+ demographic of her audience laughing about vaginal waxing, she’s nailing her material. The blurb for DeAnne Smith’s show Get Into It ends by saying that “You’ll like it, if you like super fun things, laughing, and feeling less alone,” and it’s 100% correct. It’s the use of the adjective “super” that I hear resonate in my head in Smith’s Canadian accent, the sort of rarely used word that tells you a lot about the person who uses it, that epitomises her upbeat joviality, but it’s also the “feeling less alone” that is equally resonant.
Smith has an incredibly infectious energy, and within mere moments of being on the stage the entire audience is on board with her. Which is most impressive in regards to the fact that the audience has a noticeable diversity – a testament to the total accessibility of Smith’s work. More importantly, she never loses us once, and never misses a beat, constantly gauging our reactions and bantering with us. By doing so, Smith truly develops a relationship with her audience, and I can’t help but feel slightly jealous of those who will fill up the rest of her season.
Which is a perfectly reasonable reaction in relation to the material. Relationships are a common subject into which both comedians and comediennes delve, but while Smith digs deep, she keeps things upbeat and even when pushing into (ever so) slightly more crass material, is ever affable.
There really is no reason not to see Smith’s show. I won’t say it caters to all, but only because it doesn’t feel as if Smith is catering her material for an audience in a way that isn’t inherent in her vivacious personality – it’s just a genuinely two-way street between a performer and her crowd. While many comedians are taking a (perfectly valid) darker twist to the nature of the introspective material emerging in the comedy scene, Smith is simply too innately exuberant not to swing in the complete opposite direction, and it’s equally perfectly valid.
It’s difficult to maintain a dignified manner as a reviewer when gushing over a comedienne who has had such an effect on you, and I failed miserably last night, immediately referring everyone I knew to her show with unreserved enthusiasm, but I wholeheartedly stand by doing so. It’s only week one of the NZ International Comedy Festival, but DeAnne Smith’s Get Into It has already secured a spot in my top three picks.
Get Into It plays as part of the NZ International Comedy Festival 2015 at Q Vault until May 2. For details see the Comedy Festival website.