DEBUT - Comedy Review
WHEN: 27 August 2022
WHERE: The MC Showroom
WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY: Daisy Webb
Theatre venues and performers all over Melbourne are trying to catch up on all the cancelled shows from 2020 and 2021. For some it is not about having a 'season', but rather about allowing all the work and love they put into the creative process having it's moment in the spotlight - literally. Daisy Webb's show Debut is one of those lost treasures and got it's moment in Queer Comedy Week at the MC Showroom for one night only.
Webb is a transgender woman and takes us through some of the awkward and uncomfortable moments as she transitions. She also has a podcast with her partner called The Daisy Diaries which explores this journey between them.
As a cis woman I always enjoy hearing transition stories because I learn a lot about my assumptions about gender, and it is usually a really interesting look at the nature versus nurture question. There might also be some generational ignorance to pepper my understanding too.
For example, I was listening to Webb talk about her breasts and I found myself thinking it sounded a lot like those dodgy Hollywood 'a man finds himself in a woman's body' crappy comedies. I am not saying Webb wasn't funny, it was more that the tone was one which I had always ascribed to the 'men's jokes about women's bodies' category. On the other hand, I guess for Webb they really are a fun new toy...? I am probably just jealous because, as she said, her boobs will always be 30 years younger than she is.
As with all good comedy Webb does hit some home truths which make us take a look at ourselves. For example she jokes about cis women constantly saying "welcome to being a woman" when she complains about something. Webb observes that it doesn't feel very welcoming. I find myself thinking cis women are just surprised that a trans woman would choose to go from a position of social/economic/political privilege to one of disempowerment. That is the point though, isn't it? It is not a choice at all.
When Webb is talking about her topic her material is strong and funny. Sadly, for some strange reason, she has decided to fill the show out with a lot of not great puns and random jokes. Thus, it is an hour long and slightly tiresome, whereas it could be a wonderful and hilarious 40 minutes of quality performance.
My advice would be to avoid going for the cheap laugh. Tell the story and trust that it and yourself is enough. I am glad Debut got it's time on stage and I look forward to, what I hope will be, another iteration.