This is Funny – Is it Though?
This is Funny filled one of three youth slots at this years 2013 Fringe Festival. Presented by four Canterbury High School students, Monica Bradford-Lea, Dayna Loeper, Kathleen Simms-Elliott and Emma Monet, it sought out to explore what exactly is funny in our modern society, especially from the perspective of women’s humor. Told through a series of very short vignettes, they explore various “funny” scenarios, or incorporate humor into otherwise not funny situations. This show isn’t successful in showing what is funny but rather what isn’t, as it seemed more like an exercise in trying too hard to be funny.
The setting is very simple, with four chairs and four girls dressed in some weird costume choices. It seemed as if each girl tried to have a certain persona: the sexy one, the geeky one, the butch one, and the ditsy one, but because none of the vignettes were connected (with the exception of one segment performed in a round in which they played these characters) the costumes just seemed misplaced and awkward. Some of them didn’t fit correctly or weren’t modern, which seems out of place for a show exploring modern humor and themes. I was especially confused when one of the girls directly quoted Dane Cooks’ Vicious Circle. I realize that I am one of the few people left in this world who like Dane Cook and just happen to have his early comedy memorized, but this does not excuse a blatant line stealing, word for word, of his joke about breaking up. Not only did the girl even imitate the little accent he uses, but it felt extremely misplaced to me to be quoting a male comedian in a show that focuses on female humor. As a woman, who considers herself to be rather hilarious (and quite modest), it was slightly offensive to me that this is what female humor is considered to be. In fact – why does there even need to be a category for female humor. Can’t funny just be funny, as I like the next “woman in the kitchen” joke as much as the next person. Why couldn’t this show have just explored funny as it is rather than trying to give it the gender spin it really didn’t need. I happened to chuckle a few times in the approximate 40 minutes of the show, but its lack of true structure and humor make it a show that definitely needs some work-shopping and rewriting if it is to be performed again.
Created and Performed by Monica Bradford-Lea, Dayna Loeper, Kathleen Simms-Elliott & Emma Monet