Fringe favourite and star of Live at the Apollo Laura Lexx is no stranger to covering heavier topics in her comedy. Last year’s hour, Trying told of the comedian’s heart-breaking journey through trying and failing to conceive. With Knee Jerk, Lexx tackles eco anxiety, radical feminism and misogyny with a deceptively breezy delivery. The stand-up may deliver her set with a warm smile, but there’s real steel and grit which underpins her comedy.
Lexx has an incredible knack of talking about weighty themes like the end of the world, Brexit and transphobia in an engaging and funny way. An enthusiastic, demonstrative performer who rarely stands still, Lexx uses techniques learned in therapy to break down and rationalise issues that people online spend hours arguing about. A bit describing a group of men meeting to discuss gender-swap operations just so they can attack women in toilets may be a little too simplistic, but it’s a point well made: if men want to hurt women there are much easier ways of going about it.
The perils of being a woman in comedy are discussed in the hour as well as being the ‘token woman’ on panel shows. Like many of her contemporaries, Lexx is a frequent victim of sexist heckles, but luckily this Fringe crowd are effusive and respectful. The show climaxes in an increasingly infuriated netball analogy, which may hammer the point about women being kept in their place a little too literally and alienate non-netball players or those of us who are unaware of its convoluted rules.
Knee Jerk is more of a manifesto than a comedy show (although there’s plenty to laugh at). If more people like Lexx were in the seats of power fighting for the disenfranchised rather than on the stage, then perhaps the political landscape wouldn’t be such a mess.