Gina Yashere: Skinny B*tch - Beck Theatre, Hayes Wednesday, June 4
I DO not find many women at all funny. That's not being sexist, it's me being honest.
French and Saunders make me change channels instantly, Jo Brand has never even made me raise a smile let alone a laugh and as for, well I'm stuck to even think of another comedienne I have ever taken note of. Those of you frowning right now: would you rather I lied?
So with all that in mind the prospect of seeing Gina Yashere's Skinny B*tch show at the Beck didn't exactly get my pulse racing. I had vaguely heard of Yashere, who is British of Nigerian ancestory, before her gig in Hayes. She's featured on a handful of TV shows in the UK and is now plying her trade in America. A friend advised me to check her show out and I owe him a drink for the tip.
Now Gina Yashere is a funny woman - laugh out loud funny in fact. The almost capacity crowd were kept chuckling with her range of spot-on accents, sharp observations on life, racial differences and the antics of Nigerian airport custom staff. The 90-minute set was filled with energy and a lot of honesty. Yashere talked about weight loss, racism in television and her fight with a degenerative disease. She still found time to sprinkle some cracking ad-libbing into her act.
Her description of colonic irrigation didn't work for me; I think she is a talent that doesn't need to resort to toilet humour.
Some of her near-the-knuckle material on race had people shifting slightly uncomfortably in their seats, but there was no nasty edge to her act. She reminded me of one of those friends you had at school who kept you laughing with their self-depreciation and variety of comical voices and funny stories.
My favourite part of the show was when she spoke about her experiences with Americans who do not believe black people live in Great Britain.
She has a very likeable stage presence and I was really impressed at the way she interacted with the crowd in a relaxed fashion. The Americans are lucky to have her. For now anyway.