Jena Friedman: American C*nt

Some show titles aim to tease, titillate or intrigue but American Cunt, the name of US comic Jena Friedman's Edinburgh Fringe debut, is a proud, badge-wearing member of the let's-cut-to-the-chase-and-weed-out-the-easily-offended camp. It makes it clear that whatever's coming will involve wanton disrespect of taboos. And it doesn't disappoint.

She isn’t scared of pillorying, and challenging, both left- and right-wing orthodoxies – which makes her sound po-faced, but she's neither.

With a massive helping of calculated understatement, Friedman describes her comedy as 'a little dark.' This is in the same way that the Empire State Building is quite high, or Donald Trump is a pretty confident man. Clever, acidic and uncompromising is a more accurate way of characterizing her shtick. And, accordingly, she adopts a shallow, insensitive and vengeful persona to deliver her savage commentary on the Land of the Free's current preoccupations and social problems.

9/11, the Holocaust, the London bombings, abortion (which, according to her, is simply an issue in need of some unconventional reframing) and gender equality are a few of the topics that get a dose of Friedman's acerbic wit. And pop culture’s one of her targets too - she has a great take on binge watchers’ favourite prison drama Orange is the New Black.

Unlike the type of shock merchants who are in it solely to provoke transgressive laughs, there's a purpose to her mordant humour. She's a politico and skilled provocateur who isn’t scared of pillorying, and challenging, both left- and right-wing orthodoxies – which makes her sound po-faced. (But she's neither.)

As you'd expect from someone who’s worked on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Late Show with David Letterman, the writing's flab-free and she keeps her material topical.

And, even though it's a 50-minute preview and she's obviously testing out what works with audiences in the UK, it's not hard to see that her brutal set is destined to become more slick and consistently funny.

Reviews by Dawn Kofie

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Jena Friedman: American C*nt

★★★★
Gilded Balloon

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★★★

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The Blurb

Dark, acerbic American stand-up comedian Jena Friedman has written for The Late Show with David Letterman and is currently a producer at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Now watch her offer up a probing examination of the US body politic, and a couple dick jokes, in her Edinburgh Festival Fringe debut, American C*nt.

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