Generally, the less well-known international comedians commissioned to perform in the Comedy Festival fall into two categories: people who will only make a small slice of the population laugh, and those whose comedy is accessible enough for them to turn to bigger stages. For me, Canadian DeAnne Smith slots effortlessly into the latter category. With a show that's both different enough to be interesting but not so offensive as to turn anyone away, Smith works hard to ensure that everyone is enjoying themselves.
In person, she resembles a 7th-form hipster boy, but her humour is far more rounded. I wouldn't have felt out of line in bringing family members to the show, but at the same time it was a great place for a date. The degree of audience interaction was at a very high level and Smith worked tirelessly to ensure that everyone was getting into it, calling out particular people in the audience and making them part of her set. A bunch of girls in the front row became the good-humoured targets of a run of lesbian innuendo.
With jokes that range from riffs on the label “feminazi” and human excrement, to how liberal Canada's immigration laws are, Smith's show is definitely one that shouldn't be missed. Also included in her line of fire are music to listen to while you're having sex, break-ups and how to order coffee.
The crowd did take time to get used to her style of humour and she to them. It was Smith's first show in New Zealand and she was learning to tailor her performance to our sensibilities. That and a couple of small technical difficulties were the only downsides to the show, and 30 minutes in, it felt as though Smith was beginning to establish what would work and what would fall flat.
All in all I had a great time and would definitely encourage you experience DeAnne Smith in action. Because her humour is funny without being offensive, it's perhaps the perfect show to take the parents to.