If The Daily Show is to reassert itself as a cultural force in the US presidential elections, Michelle Wolf will doubtless be integral to its success.
Star rating: * * * *
Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)
A lately arrived correspondent on the TV news satire show, she possesses a wickedly keen intelligence and penetrating analysis that makes a mockery of her performing stand-up a mere five years.
Controlled and assured, on her first night performing outside of North America she brutally slapped down two disruptive audience members.
Yet she’s easy to warm to, couching trenchant political opinions in a conversational style that seeks to highlight the absurdity of the everyday and her own foibles.
Largely eschewing mention of Donald Trump, beyond dismissing his speak first, think later mentality, she’s a reluctant endorser of Hillary Clinton, not least as they share a similarly shrill
voice. The ramifications of a first female president are delightfully, mischievously explored and serve as a launch pad for her ambivalence about feminism.
Wolf has a tendency to declare herself pro-something, leaving you in little doubt where she stands, before mercilessly picking apart her own side’s argument.
One of her most impressive suits is the way she brilliantly contrasts gender experiences through hypothetical role swaps, artful “what if ?” scenarios rooted in acute observation, that still capably manage to elide cliché and speak to broader truths.
As you’d expect from a fast-tracked television writer, beneath the idiosyncratic outlook and kookiness that finds her choosing a credit card on the basis of what animal features on it, her lines gleam with precision and polish, sardonic demolitions of contemporary ideas of bravery sitting alongside an exquisitely subtle abortion gag.
She closes with a wonderfully escalating series of nonsensical texts to a guy she’s trying to ditch, her commitment to the funny over unsatisfying relationships a strong reason for her never sustaining one.
Until 28 August. Today 9:30pm.