“Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman” could easily have been the title of Jena Friedman’s show, but let’s face it – it’s probably not as eye-catching as the one she went for. There’s a strong feminist streak throughout her show, but also a great deal of confusion and fun had at the expense of the fractured nature of what the term “feminist” means in the present day.
There are acid sharp lines on everything from periods to politics in her show, and she’s very good at undermining expectations when talking about the world of celebrity and young people.
The show’s a pretty scattergun affair, so obviously there are hits and misses. It’s clear from the number of times she has to refer to her crib sheet that the show is, to an extent, still in the process of being written. For audiences used to the increasingly slick, polished and themed comedy of the Fringe it might be a little frustrating.
Friedman is definitely an American… comedian, and so an awareness of US culture and politics would help you get the most out of this show, but there are enough universal anxieties worked through to mean you don’t need a guide book.
This is unstructured, fairly haphazard comedy, but that’s also part of Friedman’s appeal. A more organised show could hardly link Ebola, black shootings and masturbation in Walmart in quick succession.
Overall Friedman is a fresh, funny and engaging comic voice. More preparation might have made this a better show, but there’s something to be said for learning on the job.