The theme of parental disappointment hung heavily over this month’s Laughter Factory bill – and for me, it was the perfect tonic.
After dropping my own parents at the airport on Friday night – after another ill-conceived, immensely stressful, week-long visit to Dubai – I headed directly to the gig. And I could not have picked a better remedy. In what felt like an enormous group therapy session, I realised the greatest lesson – that I am not alone.
Opener Nick Dixon spoke hilariously about his parents’s disdain of his job. Strafing the lines of good taste, the young British comic went as far as to joke that, when serial killer Derrick Bird was on the run in his hometown, he hoped his parents would be targeted, so that he would bank the inheritance. The punchline, of course, was their reply that he’s not even in the will.
But the sadder, and more telling moment came minutes later, when Dixon admitted his parents had never actually seen him perform. I can relate – it’s only the knowledge that there’s zero chance my parents reading this, that allows me to pen this mean-spirited review.
Closing was Allyson June Smith, a hilarious Canadian who also shared, at length, her father’s disappointment at her decision to quit a career in teaching to become a stand-up comic. It was certainly the comedy world’s gain – Smith’s assuredly self-deprecating set opened with a timely Trump joke, was packed with plenty of fish-out-of-water Canadian-isms, and included some improv singing and biting take-downs of pop-stars Shakira and Britney Spears.
Sandwiched in the middle was Larry Dean, who exploited his brilliant ability to emulate accents with some scathing impersonations of his own parents’s differing class backgrounds. Cruel but funny, this was far from his most shocking, or most personal, moment. With a truly gifted sense of timing, Dean detonates details of his private life like controlled comedic explosions. Watching him riff on the room like a pro, it seems abundantly clear that in five years, Dean will be absolutely massive – whatever his posh mother might say.
The Laughter Factory continues at The Baggot @ McGettigan's JLT on October 19, 8pm, at Grand Millennium Tecom (Barsha Heights) on October 20, 9pm, and The Gramercy, DIFC on October 21, 9pm. For more information and tickets, priced at Dh140, see thelaughterfactory.com.