A microphone stand and a metal pole await a grinning Jay Lafferty as she takes to the stage. The crowd in Sportsmans at Gilded Balloon is excited and pumped up. For me, I feel an overwhelming sense of calm. I have so much trust in Jay as a performer, it’s as if I’ve given the Bahookie comedian free reign from the outset to make me laugh. And, by jings, did she succeed.
It’s a marvel how consistently brilliant her shows are
There’s a lot out there in this year’s Fringe. As Jay astutely points out, a lot of the themes of shows this year are trauma-based. Thus, Jay has decided to make her show all about joy. Whether she’s speaking about the many difficulties of self-help diaries, her experience of ‘spinny room’ or just updating us on poor old Sandra from the morning meeting, Jay weaves an infectious sense of joy through all of her material. The foundations of the show are based upon something joyful too: bettering ourselves as human beings. Jay turned to pole-dancing as a way of changing her life and improving her mental health. If there’s something I absolutely love in general, it’s seeing someone speak about something that they’re passionate about. Although she calls herself ‘the Liz Truss of pole-dancing’, you can tell in Jay’s tone just how much it means to her (even if she injures herself in ways that she didn’t know was possible).
For me, the highlight of any Jay Lafferty show is her crowd work. Members of the audience shouldn’t be nervous if Jay picks on them, they should be honoured. Throughout the hour, the crowd interactions are professional, skilful and, most importantly, hilarious. Jay’s talent as an emcee is one of the reasons why she always finishes shows with the audience on her side. Her well-written jokes and brilliant observations are one thing, but it’s her natural charm and personality that win over even the coldest of comedy hearts.
Not only did I leave Bahookie laughing, I left feeling joyful and happy! Hearing some of the comments of audience members as they exited, it seems as if they did too. With Bahookie, Jay Lafferty has cemented herself as one of the strongest comedians on the circuit today. It’s a marvel how consistently brilliant her shows are.