Few people can turn the (vividly graphic) tale of a dead rabbit into stand-up, but Sasha Ellen is somebody who’s learned the hard way to take life’s hurdles with an incontrovertible sense of humour. There’s a skill to laughing at your own misfortune, a kind of reflexive schadenfreude, and Ellen’s well-versed in poking fun at her own accidents.
Whereas there are some truly stellar one-liners, a few too many similes fall on the wrong side of whimsical and feel like unnecessary filler in what’s a genuinely engaging show.
Ellen’s material mines an already frequented well for stand-ups, touching on the fears of becoming an adult, the shame of her degree choice and the terrifying prospect of having planned one’s life out for the next five years. The subjects may be rote, but Ellen has a gift for storytelling which freshens a potentially stale narrative. An ability to flash forward and back throughout the meat of the show allows her Ellen to deal out witty asides and dwell on the truly bizarre minutiae of her childhood years and family ties.
This same storytelling technique can bog down punch lines in too much preamble however. Whereas there are some truly stellar one-liners, a few too many similes fall on the wrong side of whimsical and feel like unnecessary filler in what’s a genuinely engaging show. Ellen has mastered a double-take which shows her keen sense of comic timing, although some of her throwaway gags have that bit too much weight behind them leading to a sense of anticlimax come the punch line.
Ellen’s patter is well-paced, and she throws in narrative twists which make her set shine. It might be accidents that land Ellen in so many of the crises on which her show’s built, but their transformation into an endearing performance full of heart isn’t just by chance.