Edinburgh Fringe Review: Michelle Wolf, Pleasance Courtyard

American comedian Michelle Wolf is clearly a rising star. She has recently become a correspondent on The Daily Show and her Edinburgh Fringe debut marks her out as very talented both as a writer and a performer.

So Brave is a set that straddles the political and the personal. The shrill-voiced comic kicks off with plenty about the Presidential election and for a change it isn’t just simplistic Trump-bashing – though of course there is some of that too. There is also a pop at Hillary Clinton as a feminist icon – “That will show women you could do anything you want to do...as long as your husband’s done it first.” There is also a nicely smutty gag about imagining Bill Clinton showing guests around the White House, paying particular attention to stains on the drapes.

If anything Wolf is too political. Some of her satirical material is a little on the obscure side for British audiences. Or maybe just me. I had to go away and look up who Ben Carson was afterwards to get the joke about him. In fact there were a few American references here that could have done with footnotes. Americans obviously know black baseball icon Jackie Robinson better than Brits do, and I’m not even sure how well known Amelia Earhart is in Scotland or whether young people over here will know the sixties US sitcom Bewitched.

But Wolf has plenty of charisma and charm and this helps her to sell the gags that might have gone over her audience’s head. And in the second half of the show she is mostly on safer, more accessible ground anyway with Bill Cosby quips, a Caitlyn Jenner routine, thoughts about body fascism, stories of her dating woes and a riff about how the world would be different if men had periods - the latter is a topic that has been done by Ben Elton, Daniel Sloss and many more down the years but Wolf is pithy and to the point about it.

It is hard to get the balance right between intellectually ambitious material and gags that will entertain an audience who have gone out just for a giggle, but most of the time So Brave is a show that gets it right. This Wolf may well have you howling with laughter.

Until Aug 28. Tickets here.


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