Review: Zoë Coombs Marr - Bossy Bottom at Monkey Barrel

The callback, the double punch-line, the plant – there’s usually at least one element of a comedy set that you’re aware you must keep secret in your write-up. By that token, Zoë Coombs Marr’s new show, Bossy Bottom, is an absolute joy to watch and a challenge to review.

The award-winning Australian takes the sell-out crowd on a virtual tour of the comedy DIY store (Droll It Yourself?) as she reveals all the tricks of the trade. She comes fully tooled up. There are surprises galore, the first one being that this was supposed to be a gimmick-free hour of stand-up. For the first time in seven years, she’s abandoned her alter-ego, Dave. Gone are the neckbeard and misogyny (well, except for that bit where she talks about the neckbeard and the misogyny) as she promises a joke-only zone. A pinkie-promise hour of straight stand-up.

Five incredibly filthy and funny one-liners later, you can almost smell the smoke from her burning pants as she mocks the industry’s quest for rehearsed spontaneity by pressing the repeat button. It’s a button that she keeps her finger tantalisingly hovering over for the entire set. The art of crowd work is demonstrated with a sublimely patronising welcome to the ‘straight people’ and the clever concept that she sees all her Fringe audiences as the same group of people. Why does she keep having to tell them the same stories over and over again like a scene from The Notebook?

There’s a swagger and bravado as she breezes around the stage pointing out her best jokes. It’s punctuated by a series of exaggerated winks and a wide-eyed stare that suggests, like your Fringe fish suppers, this should all be taken with an extra pinch of salt. Intelligent, thought-provoking and gut-grippingly funny – this is a master-class in stand-up. Her disco-biscuits gurning face is worth the admission price alone.

Zoë Coombs Marr: Bossy Bottom – Monkey Barrel Comedy, 31 Jul – 25 Aug, 7.30pm

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