Jenny Bede: Don't Look at Me

Passable standup that's rendered largely redundant by the sprightly musical comedy with which it's inter-cut

★★★
comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 06 Aug 2015

Jenny Bede isn't a party person, she begins her show by explaining, presumably in the hopes of eliciting roars of approval from fellow introverts who were under the impression they were the only shy person in the world. Therein lies the gambit that is not so much woven throughout, as dolloped all over Don't Look at Me, mercifully alleviated by energetic and astute vignettes of musical comedy.

Bede skewers the most hackneyed of subjects with the bluntest of blades, but it's well rehearsed and delivered with clean-cut professionalism and comic timing. It's a little like being told jokes by a phone-banking prompt, with the punchlines told in a manner akin to being asked if you want to speak to an operator. It's TV-friendly, reliable material, but never original enough to derive genuine regalement. Despite this, the musical interludes are inspired and refreshing.

The song breaks cover most of the same well-trodden comedic ground as the standup, but with such verve (and pitch-perfect singing) that they transcend the observational checklist to which the rest of the show is tied. Raps about testes, ballads about emojis; the preceding jokes only serve as a substantive introduction to the real, musical highlights. Bede was named as The Observer's rising star of 2015, and it's not hard to imagine her performing to mainstream audiences soon. For now, though, her show remains a solid, if trite, discernment of the travails of nightclubs, relationships, modern music and whatever else she expects to strike the biggest chord.