A Book For Her
The Stand Comedy Club, Edinburgh Festival ★★★★
Written by Alex Hardy in The Times on August 14th, 2015
I interviewed Bridget Christie recently and she had a lot on her mind – the Tory majority, welfare cuts, the rise of Ukip – but said she would only put such themes into her stand-up if she could make them funny. Mission accomplished.
In A Book For Her she pushes beyond the feminist themes that won her the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award in 2013, and takes a wider swipe at social issues, combining a sharp sense of reason with a huge sense of fun.
Of course, feminism is still on the cards, as Christie dissects the labels “feminist” and “feminist comedian”. Suggesting that she might have adopted the whole feminist persona to improve her career, she riffs on that idea until she’s pushed it to hilarious extremes. These kind of riffs, impeccably argued and delivered in smilingly sarcastic, upbeat tones, have become Christie’s trademark, and in this 45-minute show she aims them at many targets.
There’s a sequence in which she posits that Nigel Farage is a character comedian, “the Borat of the European parliament”. In another, she acts the parts of George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith, discussing the unworkable detail of child benefit cuts. The scene has a lovely energy and results in a taut message about humans versus algorithms. Christie also punchily dissects the Charleston shootings, Jeremy Clarkson and VAT on tampons, only one of which has obvious comic potential.
Other sections feel more forced: an analogy in which she compares choosing a tap for her kitchen to Labour choosing a new leader doesn’t quite fly, and her closing premise is more gimmicky than in previous shows. However it’s easy to forgive the odd blip in the context of what she’s achieving here, which is to give a provocative and punchline-rich insight into things that matter.