Katy Brand: I Could've Been an Astronaut

★★★
comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
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Katy Brand
Published 10 Aug 2017

Katy Brand notes that it's now possible for comedians to categorise themselves as ‘storytellers’ in the festival programme, and sees this as a useful get out clause for those parts of her show that aren't funny. In Brand's case it accurately describes her show, for this is more story than standup. She recounts her lifelong fascination with space and astronomy, and wonders why it is that this never resulted in a related career.

The argument here is that senses of self are predominantly affected by how others see you when you're young. Brand was told as a child she wasn't good at maths but excelled at performing, and so has always believed that about herself. But is this true, and is it inevitable? To what extent are we shaped by how others choose to see us? And while much of this is focused on perceptions of family and schoolteachers, she also points to social contexts such as gender and class.

It's an interesting idea, and a powerful one that questions the right others have to define us. But there aren't really any novel insights offered. She doesn't outline a definite answer, or proffer solutions to the problems she cites. There's lots of fun to be had here, looking at Brand’s school photos, from which—she argues—her destiny was set. But though the story is well told, little unexpected or revelatory arises from the telling.