MONTREAL — “See, and you thought women weren’t funny! You probably got dragged here tonight, didn’t you?” Natasha Leggero, she of the rising star, killer comedian status, quipped loudly. The recipient, presumably a Republican-looking dude unfortunate enough to be seated in the front row, no doubt was enjoying himself, even if he’d had reservations coming in. (And I’m not talking about dinner for two.) One would have to possess the commitment to lacking humor as iron-clad as a knight’s codpiece not to double over with laughter during each set comprising the Nasty Girls Night Out show.
A showcase for the modern who’s-who of lady laugh-makers, Nasty Girls delivered a cavalcade of nonstop hilarity, courtesy of heavy hitters like Amy Schumer, Kathleen McGee, Paula Bel, Sarah Colonna, New Faces stand-out Ali Wong, and the aforementioned Leggero, who played hostess for the evening. True to its blue headline, the ladies were as nasty as they wanted to be, invoking imagery alternately grotesque and hilarious, with the two often dovetailing together splendidly. Evening highlight: Leggero pulling two middle aged male audience members onstage to beatbox behind her as she rapped playfully about the trials and tribulations of rich white dude-dom. Rape and abortion jokes abounded, delivered satirically enough to leave the entire theater in stitches rather than scowls, and each performer seemed to have just a fantastic time on stage, reveling in several minutes of solid material to a receptive audience hungry for more.
Likewise, later than night, the venerable Maria Bamford killed at her Unwanted Thoughts Syndrome show, where she and opener Jackie Kashian made great sport of spilling personal details in a prose styling lousy with astonishing wit. All the way back on New Years Eve of aught ’10, I had the privilege of watching this fearsome duo perform several hundred miles south of Montreal, and am proud to say that the increase in latitude held no negative bearing on their mutual output. (Not that I was really worried it would, but you know how unpredictable these glacial land masses can be.) Bamford’s is a voice of true originality and uniqueness – as a comedy observer, I am hard pressed to ever compare her to anybody, except perhaps Maria Bamford circa two years ago. Every time I take in her work, I undergo the sensation of listening to the inner monologue of a brilliant eccentric who talks the way I think when especially silly and/or sleep deprived. Stream-of-consciousness has always been her strongest suit, and Bamford wears it well; it seems to fit her better than nearly anyone else who has attempted a fitting.
Two great shows; one spectacular evening. Ladies, you – and Just For Laughs, by extension – have much to be proud of.