On the smaller of two stages at Toronto’s Comedy Bar, DeAnne Smith is labouring through what she calls the “painful birth of new jokes.”
Her notes about premises, she confesses, seem like a journal of depression, with items like “tired of showering”; her ADD and anxiety also get referenced. “This gets a little sincere, but stick with me.”
Before her, the opening acts were each thrown in succession by the presence of two 13-year-old girls in the front row who say they’re dating. The headliner, a forerunner of an absolute tidal wave of lesbian standup in the last couple of years, handles the oddity in the audience adroitly and earns a warm reception for her new material.
If the girls have to be at a comedy show, it might as well be this one — but of course, they don’t have to be at the club, not least because Smith’s new comedy special is now on Netflix.
That’s not a very exclusive club anymore; the service released a jaw-dropping 47 half-hours of standup, Smith’s among them, on Jan. 1 as their Comedians of the World series. It’s probably about time the diminutive, androgynously attired Toronto-based comic got this sort of credit, after performing across North America, in Britain and Australia for years, landing a spot or two on American TV and racking up millions of views online for a standup clip entitled “Straight Men, Step Your Game Up.”
Those squeezed into the seats at that cosy side stage on a brisk December weeknight got a preview for some of the material bound for Netflix, including her choice of gender identities (“transmasculine house mouse”) …