Comedy & Mayhem | Jackie LoebOne of the first feelings I get about Jackie Loeb is, she really wants to be a full-on, legit singer. When she bares her belly and dons a wig, in mocking Shakira, she not only betrays her very considerable vocal dexterity, but her, perhaps, not-so-well-kept-secret, burning yearning to be her; or Whitney; or someone! Given her musical talent (she plays piano & guitar, too), this is both understandable and a shame. As is her penchant for self-deprecation, in the form of feigned flattery. She makes a face at her matronly upper arms, or other jokes at her own expense. This is quite a twist on the typical domain of the stand-up, who often goes for the jugular of the audience ('though there's some of that), rather than slashing their own wrists. But we'll leave that to better qualified psychiatrists.

One might observe JL to have the hallmark of true genius, at least inasmuch as she tends to be a little uneven and erratic. When on song, hitting her straps and, thus, the mark, however, her wit is rapier-like, while never taking the mickey more than compassionately. So, a routine about how much one can imbibe and how long it might subsequently take before it's safe to drive, adapted for a small, late-night, rather weary Wollongong crowd, has an enviable trajectory: a youngster has partaken of ecstasy, ice, vodka, bourbon, what-have-you; so, how long before he can drive? Five years: when he turns 16 (& 9 months, if that's still the case).

There are plenty of sharp, acidic one-liners amongst the anecdotes and lewd songs: the doctor says she can't have children, because she's too selfish. She's been trying to have kids since she was 14, which she's embarrassed about, 'cause she realises that's late, for Wollongong.

Her capacity for mimickry is legend and, deservedly so. To the tune of a universally-known Missy Higgins number, she sings: 'don't I sound Australian. Try witholding laughter at that. Actually don't, it could prove dangerous.

One gets the feeling, too, that despite a prodigious cv, Jackie Loeb deserves and wants to be more famous than she currently is and that her comedic clock is ticking; perhaps she wants her 15 minutes of very genuine notoriety (think NYC performance; Full Frontal) to run a little longer, to take account of, say, daylight saving. If I've read her right, I'm with her in this pursuit: Loeb is, literally, a laugh a minute, but pointedly so. If visual art, literature and music can serve as powerful and influential political, social and cultural commentary and have the potential energy to motivate and, even, effect positive change, so can comedy. But only if it's this well-conceived.


Comedy and Mayhem in the Big Top
Jackie Loeb

Venue: Circus Monoxide Big Top
Date: Fri 10 Oct
Time: 10.30pm
Tickets: $10 on door
Bookings: www.vivalagongfestival.org

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