Sarah Millican: Bobby Dazzler Review – rough comedy with baroque flourishes | comedy


THere are seven signs of skin aging, according to a well-known moisturizer brand — but Sarah Millican covers them very briefly. Instead, here are Millican’s own seven signs that have nothing to do with skincare and mainly emphasize her trademark vulgarity and intimate body comedy. Amid the hilarity as the 47-year-old tells us about her experiences with hemorrhoids, loose stools and farting through flesh folds, there’s no point protesting that another sign of aging may be the development of taste and sensitivity. Millican seems immune to that: This show offers exactly that combination of domestic, physical and sex comedy that she’s always delivered on stage. The body may age, but their comical craft exists in perfect stasis.

For some, the keyword might be perfect: there’s no denying that Millican can pull a joke, and do it as expertly as ever. Especially in the second half, where these signs of aging produce their most concentrated suite of carnal humor. Here she critiques the terms used to sell sanitary napkins and refers to the experience of using them – and paints rococo word pictures (Saving Private Ryan is evoked) of the carnage caused by her particularly heavy flow on the toilet bowl was unleashed. Here, too, a smear routine, because our hostess wonders about the question: “What size speculum do you have?”

None of this feels unfamiliar: the comedy of genital and rectal exams is pretty much the staple among middle-aged standups. But Millican brings real vitality, and the occasional baroque flourish in her language and imagery combines with her Georgian bluntness to grand effect. And while it won’t seem exactly modern to regular comedy-goers, Millican’s light-hearted candor about the unruly female body and its appetites — including for food as she describes it — may still have a transgressive and liberating quality about more recent dieting gimmicks. It took three days and failed because of two special Belgian rolls.

The first half of the show and its ending are less convincing as Millican plays some weak anecdotes about diarrhea and cutting off her fingertip with a mandolin. Before that, she takes the stage against the backdrop of a government in the grips of collapse (which she doesn’t even mention) and recalls a recent visit to the optometrist and some children’s parties she attended in the 1980s. She also recaps her pandemic experience of attempting the Couch to 5K running plan (choosing her own voice to coach) and taking up yoga. It’s ingenious enough, but doesn’t exactly spark an excitement in her crowd – as shown when Millican solicits moments of lockdown madness from her audience and is greeted with complete silence in response.

She is not troubled by this; she seems quite content to keep her audience at a distance. It’s not as if her everywoman persona is fake — but you can see a certain steel behind the I’m-just-like-you rope. None of this will matter to those who come to hear Millican explain about her smelly pajamas, her ponytails, or the affinities between jacking off and mashed potatoes. With themes like these, few are funnier — though the formulaic resemblance between one Millican show and the next suggests a comic that may age but not change an iota.


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