Mary Lynn Rajskub

The Guilty Feminist with Sofie Hagen and Deborah Frances-White

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22/08/16

Gilded Balloon Teviot, Edinburgh

The Guilty Feminist is one of my favourite podcasts, and I enjoy being a member of the associated Facebook group, so I was very excited by the opportunity to see a live recording of the show.

Let’s be honest, though, a live recording of something that’s intended for another medium is rarely going to be a five star experience (sorry, Sofie! the podcast itself definitely merits the top rating, but the live show doesn’t… not quite). But this one certainly comes close.

The venue is packed out; the podcast’s popularity shows how well it chimes with the zeitgeist, and how appealing its non-preachy, inclusive approach to feminism is. And today’s topic, independence, is an interesting one, with special guest Mary Lynn Rajskub contributing some fascinating insights into a comic’s transient life.

In truth, all three women seem a little fringe-frazzled (Sofie complains of a hangover; Deborah, we learn, went to bed at 6am), but that’s only to be expected at this stage of an Edinburgh run. And the podcast is none the worse for it; their honest appraisals of how they feel and where they’re at are, in fact, what makes the programme so compelling. I’d like to hear more about Sofie’s mother and her “men leave; you have to learn to do it for yourself” philosophy, but there’s plenty here to hold my attention, and it’s as funny, challenging, emotional and demanding as regular listeners will have come to expect.

I wish I had the time to attend further recordings this week. I don’t. But I’m glad I’ve seen this one.

4.2 stars

Susan Singfield

 

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24 Hours with Mary Lynn Rajskub

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04/08/16

Assembly George Square Studios, Edinburgh

Mary Lynn Rajskub is best known for her role in hit American TV series 24, and that notoriety is certainly helping her to draw in a crowd. As a comedian, she has little presence in the UK, but she seems set to have a successful debut at the fringe. But, while it might be her fame as an actor that brings the punters in, they’re unlikley to leave disappointed if tonight’s performance is anything to go by. Because she’s really very good.

She seems a little tired, and needs to refer to her set-list on occasion, but this is the first show, and she’s jet-lagged, so we can forgive her that. She’s a strong, engaging performer, with an easy confidence and an attractive persona: she’s self-deprecating but not too much; she knows how good she is.

There’s a confessional tone to the show, and what seems like genuine emotion behind the stories she tells (although she is, of course, an actress…); she’s relatable despite being an international star. Her account of attending the Golden Globes, for example, is less a starry tale of showbiz glamour than an everywoman howl at how awkward life can be.

There are a couple of hack moments (slagging off man-buns just seems too easy, really), but overall this is a delightful show. Mary Lynn is an interesting woman, and it’s worth hearing what she has to say.

4 stars

Susan Singfield