The Taproom, Islington, London, 23/06/2019.
Lou Sanders is currently knocking it out of the park in the latest series of Taskmaster, she’s easily the best contestant out of a batch who are nearly always entertaining (well, bar Iain Sterling, but I guess you can’t have it all) as her quirky take on the tasks has been a constant delight in each and every show. I was already a fan of hers due to seeing her live a good few times over the years and her show on NextUp, What’s That Lady Doing? is one of my favourite things on the service, it’s not perfect but it’s mostly delightful and often hilarious.
Out of those that I’ve seen so far this is quite a different show for Lou though, unfortunately I missed Shame Pig so I don’t know if it was in any way similar to this, but in the past she’s taken on various characters and the hour hasn’t had a consistent narrative, but here it’s all part of one story as she discusses the sudden desire she now has to have a child, be with her next partner for several decades at the least, and how she used to act in the past when it came to relationships.
At the beginning there’s a fair amount of material about her healer, Jill in the Pyrenees, who gives her advice via whatsapp and put her on a man ban for a year so that her body (or genitals at least) could be cleansed and she’d lose the urge to stop dating skateboarders and other unsuitable men. Sanders is aware of how unusual having a healer is and is happy to mock the idea, but she clearly believes it’s helped her out and that she’s a better person due to her interactions with Jill, and the main thing is that all of this part, and the jokes she makes about the men she now wants to marry, is constantly funny stuff.
A big chunk of the show after this is all about how much sex she had when younger, which she sees as no bad thing (apart from the sex wasn’t great) but is aware that in certain ways it was a reaction to her upbringing, which contains some strong material about her Dad, the best of which revolves around visiting him in prison. She’s open and very honest about how in relationships she at times acted like a sociopath, often cheating on her boyfriends because she wanted to do so first before they cheated on her, and she generates a lot of effective humour from such tales. It’s not all about her past though, throughout there’s a lot of asides and funny moments, like how she wants to bring back old phrases like “I believe you, thousands wouldn’t” and that she has fondness for “Your Dad” jokes (all of which were a lot funnier than any of the Your Mum jokes I’ve heard over the years), and she also has a great gag about bravery which is linked to the school girl Malala who was shot in the face.
There’s also one segment that I can’t mention as Lou talked about how she didn’t want reviewers to do so, mainly so that her family don’t find out about it, and as I’m not a twat I won’t do so but it was very very funny stuff and the highlight of an already strong hour. This being an Edinburgh preview meant that there were a few bits which weren’t quite finished yet or needed more jokes, but even at this stage it’s delightfully funny stuff and I’m all but certain that the finished piece will make for a fantastic show and quite possibly her best yet.