Annie McGrath: Ambivert

★★★
comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
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Annie McGrath
Published 19 Aug 2017

Without the straightforward performance impulse of the extrovert, or the fashionable, counter-intuitive insecurity of an introvert, Annie McGrath has seized upon her results in a personality test to brand herself an ambivert comedian – neither one nor the other, just stuck in the middle. Appreciating that this essentially amounts to a free pass to define herself however she chooses, it plays nicely into her varied and wide-ranging standup, which blends inventive, occasionally tortuous wordplay with ironic social commentary.

Manifesting itself as glib aloofness, this latter suit inspires a compelling scenario in which her gift of unwanted Panettone cake to a homeless man becomes part of a broader, millennial angst about the paralysis of choice and her sending up of first world problems. Concocting a pretentious acquaintance, Lettuce, to spout parodic, pseudy opinions for her, McGrath is very much aware of her privilege. She overstates the prevalence of therapy for her generation but it prompts a great, navel-gazing gag about needing counselling for your counselling.

Still, this privately educated comic can seem pretty cold and superior, a hinted suggestion as to why residing in the rather damning snapshots she presents of her famous but uncredited father. She's never going to be a straightforward, confessional stand-up though, her background in sketch perhaps emboldening her playfulness with the form. So what McGrath loses in relatable warmth, she tends to make up for with unpredictability and off-kilter thoughts, a trip to Costa Rica suggesting a mantra that she artfully and inappropriately tries to apply to everything.