Hattie Ashdown was a mistake. This isn’t a critical comment on her new set, merely a critical comment on her life: she wasn’t, as her mother euphemistically assumed, ‘The Change’, but instead a new addition to the family. It is on this and her laziness, which could make even the most slovenly amongst us feel pretty active, that Ashdown’s set is focussed.
Unfortunately, there were points at which Ashdown’s jokes, much like her lifestyle, fell back on lazy comedy tropes.
It isn’t only Ashdown who suffers from extreme laziness: in a staggering display of laziness, it is revealed that one of her sisters attended a funeral without removing the head-lice lotion from her hair, simply because she couldn’t be bothered. It is the matter of fact fashion in which these tales are recounted which means the comedy is particularly strong when Ashdown is talking about her family, or showing some of her truly embarrassing family photos. Similarly, Ashdown is strong when she is talking about her widespread experiences of casual work – there’s a lot of it, because she has been “fired from every job” she has ever had. As someone who has spent significant amounts of time flyering, it was gratifying to hear some of Ashdown’s stories from her time as a promo-worker, including one in which a man went to the extreme of pretending he had lost an arm in order to avoid being flyered. In Edinburgh these tales take on an extra significance.
Unfortunately, there were points at which Ashdown’s jokes, much like her lifestyle, fell back on lazy comedy tropes. A section on the issues caused by farting in front of a new partner went on for far too long; there was an off-colour joke about a picture of Ashdown with her arm around Jimmy Savile that felt entirely out of kilter with the rest of the set.
It is the generally relatable nature of Ashdown’s set that renders it easy to watch. From starting by handing round a bag of Werther’s Originals to closing the set with a recording from her mother, Ashdown’s comedy is generally inoffensive and lovely to watch.