COMBINING American ease at talking about her dating travails with a dry, sardonic delivery that suits British sensibilities, Carmen Lynch immediately stands out. Since she first began performing in this country two years ago, the New Yorker has modified her deadpan delivery to become more engaging, but retained her compelling cynical streak and unquestionable joke-writing talent.
Carmen Lynch, The Stand, Glasgow ***
Her grimly dark, original gags about abortion set the show’s tone, while introducing her preoccupations with the body and illness. A taller-than-average runner with “unusually high” knees, a heart murmur and sexual peccadillo for doctors, she’s adept at crafting a visual image from the corporeal. And she projects a pragmatic combination of physical insecurity and sexual confidence – “awkwardly hot” as her older boyfriend once semi-complimented her.
Although Lynch’s family loom large in her latter routines, these are markedly unsentimental. Her Spanish mother’s extreme solution when presented with a Sophie’s Choice concerning her daughters perhaps explains the comedian’s own, instinctive misanthropy, making her seem socially spiky and unwilling to suffer fools. Awkwardly Hot often feels like the best of Lynch’s club routines simply strung together, as she occasionally drifts out of a punchline and segues abruptly. Regardless, there’s plenty to enjoy in her bracing and refreshingly caustic world-view. And it’s to be hoped that having further acclimatised to Scotland with her first Glasgow gig, she will return to the Edinburgh Fringe once again. - JAY RICHARDSON