Comedian Charlyne Yi has been mentioned in lots of “25 under 25” lists, all of which serve to make the reader feel old, inadequate and angry. Those lists aren’t to be read after you’ve made a decision to be nicer, kinder, more compassionate, etc. I saw Charlyne performing last night at Upright Citizen Brigade. She allegedly was trying out her show for a local audience before taking it to the Edinburgh Festival. Yi’s stand up is a mix of basic chord progressions and simple lyrics she calls songs as well as magic, outtakes from Paper Hearts and somewhat non-tangential jokes.
But I like Charlyne and I like that she was in NYC last night because the other option for comedy was The Daily Show and Friends, hosted by Lewis Black, John Oliver, Rob Riggle, Wyatt Cenac, Adam Lowitt and Rory Albanes. There’s just something about men in comedy that’s so fresh and new, you know?
I liked Charlyne’s act because:
1. Attempting to show the audience how she became the woman she is today, a recording of a vaginal child birth played for about 3 minutes. It made the mostly male audience so uncomfortable that they had to laugh and/or curl into the shoulder of their bro-friend or girlfriend next to them.
I’ve never seen A. a comedian have that much guts + I give her credit for making it work and B. how the whole birthing thing happens. Now I know to never ever ever ever ever ever do that ever, even if it means a chance to star in the MTV reality series 16 + Pregnant, aka an other opportunity to feel old and inadequate because, at least they have a baby and that’s more than you can say for yourself.
I liked Charlyne con’t:
2. she shaved her head an can no longer rely on the awkward, shy nerd shitck that she leaned so heavily on in Paper Heart.
3. she has a short bit about calling men out on their cat calls and does it without being alienating, illustrating how ridiculous the term “baby” is. I thought she should’ve brought it full circle to include the birthing bit, but that’s just me.
4. she’s carved out an interesting niche: a self-proclaimed guys-gal non-threatening enough to navigate the dude-heavy comedy world with ease yet she’s based her bits on examining this relationship and calling these guys out on their shortcomings. She’s avoiding the self-realized but self-effacing humor (ala Sarah Silverman + Kathy Griffin) that relies on exploiting the laughs associated with stereotypes.
I like her but I think she’s gotta expand on the stuff that works (smart n’ sassy) and loose the stuff that doesn’t (the songs + the awkward-nerd thing). But that’s just me. She won a Sundance Award and I’m in Brooklyn blogging, so. Yeah.