Jackie Kashian opens her new hour-long stand-up special, This Will Make an Excellent Horcrux, with the promise to kill. And by now, it’s safe to say that any Harry Potter-heads among our readership have probably perked up instantly at the mention of the H-word. Wands at the ready, friends – this lady means business. Much like the Dark Lord before her, Kashian has encased a bit of her soul into this project, and she, too, is well adept at the art of killing. Only difference is, her brand of murder tends to err more on the side of huge laughs than Unforgivable Curses. (You’ll pardon me the excessively nerderific rhetoric. Kashian, after all, did choose the title.)
But the similarities to He Who Must Not Be Named end there. Kashian has long been one of those well disciplined and impeccably polished comic voices who writes, performs, and tours continuously as a headliner and sometimes as the opener for the venerable Maria Bamford. A native Wisconsinite, she radiates an affable warmth and onstage charm characteristic of her former Midwestern stomping grounds. Now available for exclusive streaming on the All Things Comedy network, Horcrux is itself Midwestern. Filmed at the Acme Comedy Company in Minneapolis, the setting exudes an appropriately intimate, DIY feel, which matches pitch and pace of the performer at center stage. As for her material, Kashian spans the scope of the personal and the topical with practiced ease. She even wades into ever-polarizing rape joke territory early on with a nod to her one of her home state’s most notorious residents: “Paul Ryan is from Wisconsin, and I’m pretty sure he’s the guy who date raped me in college.”
Alright – sometimes through the gloss of folksy charm, the gloves come off, and indeed, Kashian’s sharp wit and even sharper tongue are among some of the best things about watching her at her feisty finest. But, as you might expect from the mastermind behind The Dork Forest podcast, in between the edgier barbs, there are the openly adorkable bits on reading romance novels, Lord of the Rings references, and yes, a punchline or two about the boy wizard who inspired it all.
By Horcrux’s conclusion, it’s hard not to walk away feeling that bit of soul Kashian split in order to make her special. Ever the comedy pro, she certainly isn’t one to leave mischief unmanaged. Brava, Jackie. Voldemort himself could not have killed an audience so thoroughly. Download the special for $5 here.
editor’s note: The Laughspin Podcast is part of the all Things Comedy Network, the entity who released Kashian’s special. But we’ve been huge fans of Kashian well before that. So, feel free to call favoritism if you must.