Kirsty MacIn order to raise funds for 1800 Respect, a helpline for women, Kirsty Mac reprised Feminazi, her Melbourne International Comedy Festival success, for a special night at the Portland Hotel. Earlier this year Mac was infamously stranded between pier and boat at dockland’s Berth Five while protesting the appearance (or otherwise) of ‘pick-up artist Julien Blanc in Melbourne; having spearheaded a campaign to have Blanc’s ‘seminars’ (one a bay cruise), cancelled. After a vigorous social media campaign and eighteen hours of phone calls on Mac’s part, the protest succeeded, the boat was stopped and the US ‘douchebags’ left the country. A good story, and one which raises hopes for growing feminist enlightenment everywhere.

Mac started the evening off by talking about the above events, kicking off a night with a celebratory vibe. She shared the stage with up and coming women comics including Aussie but now New York based Kelly Fistuca, local gals Sonia di Iorio, Claire Sullivan and Anna Spark. Lana Schwartz hosted – and for my money was the funniest guest comic of the night even though she went down the tired old ‘I haven’t got a man’ line. Schwartz started off strongly but audience warmth cooled when she made reference to an ‘ugly woman’. Feminist comics can do better than putting other women down for their looks – she needs to lose that joke. Claire Sullivan’s got some nice ideas but they need developing to be truly amusing. Fistuca is more all-out NYC attitude than funny gags but her finale had punch.

I’m looking forward to the day when a female comic starts off her act with something other than “I’m single.” Over and over again strong funny women define themselves and put themselves down according to whether or not they’ve got a man – I’m so sick of it. If so many bright fierce witty women are single when they’d rather not be then maybe there’s something else going on? With the men, perhaps? Just saying…

Mac herself doesn’t overly labour this line; although she does talk about being unattached and shares some online dating experiences, she’s not sorry for herself; along with moments of self-deprecation, her act mostly involves a lot of attitude. She’s an angry bird all right, with the stage persona of your classic foulmouthed Aussie pub comic with ‘balls and bite’ who descends into moments of almost insane rage. I liked those bits the most, there were times she reminded me of Paul McDermott at his histrionic best. She’s witty and makes some great one-liners and asides, nicely balancing the personal and political. There’s no chance of her being accused of elitism, that’s for sure, and the joy is watching her weave in stinging social commentary while keeping any number of unenlightened and unreconstructed males onside (not that there seemed to be any in last night’s audience.)

Kirsty Mac

Venue: The Portland Hotel | 115/127 Russell St, Melbourne
Date: 13 Dec, 2014