Thea Vidale with The Serious Comedy Site's Richard Lanoie
Having a no holds barred hostess like Gina Yashere opening up for a quartet of bright and relentless women is a simple recipe for success. The evening opened up with Gina Yashere, who had a strong set in the Bubbling with Laughter show the previous night, coming on stage as the evening’s hostess. Things looked to possibly get off to a rocky start with a hapless, and clearly comedy inexperienced audience member, sitting in the front row who would not tell Gina Yashere his name. Being a naïve audience member he probably thought that, that would be the end of it but comediennes do not get to become headliners by getting the audience dictate the terms of the show. It wasn’t long before Gina Yashere had the entire audience in the palm of her hand as she dubbed the reluctant audience member Pot Bellied T-Shirt Man (PBT for short) a name which stuck through the entire evening with the other comics. A simple rule for those going to a comedy show – don’t sit in the front row unless you are willing to participate.
First up after a strong warm-up by Yashere was a very polished Rachel Feinstein who had the job of getting the audience into the spirit of the Nasty Girls show. The Nasty Girls Show (just like every Nasty Show at the Festival Just For Laughs) is essentially a show that allows the comics to do whatever material they want to do – it does not necessarily have to be blue but frequently is very blue. Of the four feature comics last night Feinstein worked the least blue and yet had some of the most sexually charged observations of the evening. Her entire set from start to finish was strong, coherent and very polished. If you get the opportunity to see her in the future you should jump at the chance. Feinstein is a traditional stand-up who uses the stage, her presence, her voice and her stories to keep the audience rolling with laughter.
The second act of the night was a little uneven, brutally blue and finished with a very strong second half that had the audience absolutely roaring with laughter. B-Phlat (pronounced FLAT) lost some of the momentum built up by Feinstein’s excellent set with some observations about getting pubic hair caught in panty liners. As any true professional would do B-Phlat seemed to recognize that she was losing momentum and stepped things up and into the true blue talking about how she walks after rough sex to how she deals with men. As a whole the set was uneven but it finished strong and B-Phlat would definitely be worth the effort to see at a local club if you get the opportunity.
After a fifteen minute intermission Gina Yashere brought the audience back into the fold with some more great stand-up and set things up nicely for Nikki Payne the comedienne with a lisp. It took all of about 10 seconds to fall in love with the frenetic Nikki Payne who has a self deprecating shtick that kept the audience in stitches while also riffing on her donating a kidney to her father (it’s a beautiful gift). Payne proved herself to be the queen of the running gag with solid call backs, ripping poor PBT in the front row and keeping an unrelenting pace. Payne’s one woman show My Big Fat Donated Kidney will be part of the Festival Just For Laughs Zoofest (www.zoofest.ca) on Wednesday July 22 and Thursday July 23rd at Theatre Ste-Catherine.
Headlining the night was the 52 year old mother of 4 Thea Vidale who worked as blue as her younger counterparts (a little more blue at times) but managed to do so will a kind of mellow ennui that of someone who has seen it all and done it all and is willing to share her experiences. From the time she flowed on stage a vision in peach with a snifter of Courvoisier Vidale had the audience in her hand. With topics ranging from child rearing, keeping men happy, lesbian marriage and how to give a blow job properly (nice to know some women know where the frenum is) Vidale managed to keep the audience breathless for a solid set. After the show Thea Vidale did not vacate the premises but instead moved to the lobby to autograph copies of her CD’s and meet with an appreciative audience.
From start to finish the Nasty Girls Show was easily worth the price of admission and in every case the comediennes who worked the show should be on your list of comics to see in the future.
Gina Yashere - http://www.ginayashere.com/
Rachel Feinstein - http://www.rachel-feinstein.com/
B-Phlat - http://www.bphlat.com/ (requires Quicktime download)
Nikki Payne - http://www.nikkipayne.com/
Thea Vidale – Doesn’t seem to have a home page but does have a facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/thea.vidale