Amy Howerska: Sasspot

★★★
comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 07 August 2015

As comedic fodder, family dysfunction offers such temptingly easy rewards that your average standup is prone to overlook their own unadventurousness and self-censorship when exploring it. Chances are you know the drill: a few good-natured ribbings at harmless familial eccentricity, softened by the unspoken implication that it's all said with love, and nary a hint of bitterness. The result, even when the punchlines are solid, can too often be a crushingly polite rehearsal of anecdotes better suited for a suburban dinner party than a stage at the Fringe.

Be thankful that Amy Howerska has enough bite to avoid such easy pitfalls. Having emerged from a military family with her formidable wits intact, raised on a skydiving 'drop zone' where death was infrequent, but by no means unknown, Howerska is painfully aware of how growing up surrounded by trained killers and brutal injury has affected her, and is not afraid to say so. Oddly, her incessantly bubbly demeanor serves to underline the darkness of her material, rather than detract from it, while her tales of family weirdness never become repetitive. 

Fortunately, Howerska also stops short of full-on, shameless exploitation, and walks the line between exposing her family's twisted history and imaginative self-deprecation with balletic aplomb. Her habit of reading from her precocious childhood diary occasionally slows things down, but she never fails to pick things up again. 

Sasspot is as much fun as any funeral; after seeing Howerska perform, you'll understand what a compliment that is.