Live Review: Fern Brady – Power and Chaos

fern brady live index
2Northdown, King’s Cross, London, 28/07/2019.

Fern Brady’s been performing this set for a fair while now having recently spent two months in Australia doing it, but now she’s rewriting it just prior to the Edinburgh Festival. So this was very much a work in progress and throughout she often commented that a certain section wouldn’t be making it in to the finished show, or that she won’t be doing a particular bit again as she didn’t like it, yet it’s still so good that it’s easily a four star show and I’d be amazed if the finished show isn’t of the five star variety.

She starts with commentary about how frustrated she is by other comedians making jokes about the Scottish, showing us examples of their twitter feeds as comic after comic makes the same bad joke about there not being any vegetables in Edinburgh. Which is something Brady finds inexplicable as though she lives in England now she used to live in the city and regularly found them in places like Sainsbury’s, Tesco’s, Asda and pretty much every other major supermarket. It’s a strong start which made me laugh hard, but also highlights that Brady has an aversion to any kind of comedy that others may lazily rely upon for laughs.

She goes on to highlight this with material about the time she attacked the DUP, and Arlene Foster specifically, on twitter, which led to her coming out as bisexual. A lot of the show revolves around that, her relationships with women and how the first was when she was attending a mental health unit at sixteen, along with bits about her current boyfriend, his fondness for shoe polish and reluctance at the idea of a threesome. All of it is razor sharp material and the kind of thing which will have you burst out laughing at the most unexpected of moments, Brady uses language somewhat beautifully to make her point and often catch you off guard.

During the show she tackles a number of other subjects from abortion to amateur porn (which comes complete with a very funny warning as to why you never want to watch any of the Scottish variety), the way women are brought up to be polite and how that ties in with body confidence, MeToo and oral sex. Then at the end she discusses fertility, which leads to a superb segment about how her body wants to have a child even though she doesn’t necessarily wish to do so, all of which made me laugh an enormous amount, and left me grinning from ear to ear at the end of it.

As mentioned in the opening paragraph it seems that a fair amount of material will be cut so I have no idea how much the show that I saw today will reflect the set which Brady is finally happy with, but even the jokes she’s not certain about mostly made me laugh which surely is a sign of a comedian at the very top of their game, and those she did like were almost always bloody hilarious. From tonight alone it’s clear that a work in progress from Brady is funnier than 90% of finished shows from other comedians, and I’d recommend seeing her whatever the situation.


Alex Finch.
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Related Links:
Fern is performing Power and Chaos at the Edinburgh Festival at Monkey Barrel Comedy – Monkey Barrel 1, from August 1st – 25th (not 12th) at 6pm, and further information and tickets can be found here.
Fern’s Official Site.

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