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Comedy Critique: Jackie Kashian

screen shot 2014-02-18 at 55930 pmBlog post courtesy of Brown Paper Tickets’ Comedy Doer Julie Seabaugh and her professional comedy criticism site The Spit TakeSelected blog post by Nick A. Zaino III

Jackie Kashian begins her new special, This Will Make an Excellent Horcrux, with a couple of notes up front, away from her audience. For the uninitiated, she explains that a “horcrux” is a Harry Potter reference, an object that contains her soul. She may not look or sound like a prototypical “dork,” but she does host a podcast called The Dork Forest, and her dork cred becomes hilariously obvious later on. The second thing she does is congratulate her audience on their choice of downloading the special, with the corollary that seeing stand-up comedy live is the best way to experience it.

Horcrux was taped at Acme Comedy Company in Minneapolis, and it feels like everything a good night out at a comedy club should be. Kashian is smart, bracing without being bitter, and she knows how to keep the punchlines rolling without seeming manic or insincere. It’s the kind of set that might make those who look down on “club comedy” as the petri dish of the lowest common denominator in stand up reconsider.

Of course that’s not a fight Kashian is taking on in an obvious sense. She takes on stand-up stereotypes that bug her because, as she says, she loves comedy, and she’ll do comedy wherever they’ll let her. Her first line in the live set after introductions is “I’m overweight. You may consider that addressed.” Translation: no tired fat jokes will follow. Kashian does, however, address her appearance further to establish a sense of place rather than to self-deprecate. Where she grew up in Wisconsin, she’s a solid six. In L.A., where she lives now, she’d be cast as an airport cop.

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