Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Jackie Kashian's "This Will Make An Excellent Horcrux"

A lot of comics feel like they need a gimmick. “I’m the comic with a puppet.” “I’m the comic who screams.” “I’m the comic who whispers.” “I’m the comic who used to be on Full House and isn’t nearly as funny as I think I am.” You know, that sort of thing. Not that there’s anything wrong with having a gimmick. Hey, if it works, it works. Sometimes, though, it’s a nice breath of fresh air to spend time with a comic like Jackie Kashian whose only gimmick is being funny (I know, go figure, right?)

You may not know Kashian by name, but you definitely know who she is. She’s been a doing comedy since the 80s and if you ever watched anything on TV that featured comedians, chances are you’ve seen her. Her new album, “This Will Make An Excellent Horcrux” is a fine example of why she’s still working today. 

Kashian is no-nonsense and addresses the standard “female comedian” issue right away. She takes the stage and simply states, “I am overweight. You may consider that addressed.” And that’s it. Let's move on. I love it. As someone who listens to a lot of comedy, can I just take a second to say how nice it is to hear a female comedian not do the standard “I’m a girl, I guess I have to talk about being overweight” routine? Kashian breaks the mold by simply being a comedian who makes people laugh. It seems a bit odd to praise Kashian as being revolutionary for simply doing what she does really well, but at the same time, it makes sense. 

There are people who crave attention, needing to be praised and coddled, jumping up and down, waving their hands, screaming a Horshack-ian “Ooo! Oo! Pick me! Pick me!!” Everyone’s heads turn and they give them the oohs, ahhs, and accolades that are being demanded. And while that’s going on, Kashian is in the club next door, no bells, whistles, or fireworks. Just... being funny. As a Midwesterner myself, that’s what I attribute her comedy work ethic to. Put your head down, work hard, and the rest will take care of itself. 

Kashian works at a steady pace, moving quickly - but not too fast - and before you know it, 45 minutes have flown by. She has a style all her own, accentuating the punch without hitting you over the head with it, and her on stage persona is confident and cool. She’s not afraid to say what’s on her mind (Don’t ask if she and her husband plan on having kids) and the title of the album comes as no surprise when you find out how much of a reader she is. 

Her stories and observations are easy to relate to, even when she’s talking about experiences many of us have never gone through. I have no idea what it’s like to be overseas with the troops or to be chased down by an attack dog (let alone both at the same time), but when living it through Kashian’s words, you get a good picture of how it is. 

If you prefer your comedy in bright, loud packaging with neon lights and flashing arrows blinking on and off, this may not be the project for you. If, however, you just want to sit down and have some good laughs, well… here ya go

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