Comedy review: Desiree Burch: Unf*ckable

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Desiree Burch has a pretty unique take on the power relations of sex, as despite having been a virgin, she used to work as a dominatrix.

Heroes @ Bob’s Blundabus (Venue 212)


Raised strictly Christian and academic, she hit New York aged 23 with an overwhelming desire to make up for lost time, plunging head first into sex work. She was treated like a goddess but was delivering what her clients asked for, so there was never any doubt about who was in control.

Not least in its lack of political correctness, the kinkiness changed how the American comic perceived normal life, colouring her relationships ever since, though with her bonhomie and confident delivery you’re reassured she’s in a positive place now.

A natural storyteller, Burch opens with a few warm-up remarks about British-American relations, before easing into some observations about the new cat she’s acquired in her adopted home of Croydon, perceptive enough but seemingly lighthearted, generic observational material. However, she quickly characterises the relationship as distinct from the expected pet-owner dynamic, with a masochistic aspect on her part, establishing the thematic trail for what she subsequently shares.

There’s obvious prurient interest in her S & M stories, with the upper-class white men she catered to in a nondescript office block each having their own quirks. Burch isn’t judgmental but she is thoughtful, exploring the motivations behind the kink and seeing it elsewhere, from the disregard for her by one of her wealthy patrons after she became a dramatist, to her issues with the term “strong black woman”.

Brash and unrelenting in the punchiness of her material, Burch is as dominating at the mic as she ever was in the sex dungeon.