If you want to hear the best dick joke of the festival, Such an Inspiration dishes out an absolute beauty. Not to worry though, this is far from an hour of vulgar and sexist quips. In her stand-up, Anna Piper Scott takes aim at the toxic public narratives about trans women with a sharp, scrupulous wit, providing a unique perspective as well as laugh-out-loud punchlines.
Scott makes clear from the start that she wants to tell the audience a story. Before this she spends much of the show deconstructing the age-old stories of trans women as either the ‘punchline, villain or victim’. Among other things, she takes shots at Dave Chapelle, enlightens the audience about female goat farmers and tells us stories about her inspiring best mate. A lot of ground is covered. Arguably, too much. Each topic that Scott addressed was incisive and had clearly been mulled over with a huge amount of thought. But as she tackled so many issues, there were moments when I felt a bit lost and was confused as to how everything connected together. Maybe this is all part of Scott’s ticket-selling strategy as I want to come back for a second time just to catch every word!
That aside, the material is inventive and very funny. It is brilliant how she uses humour as a tool to make genuinely insightful points. Examples of this are aplenty. I particularly enjoyed her bit about trans women in sport, where Scott bemoans the fact that, after transitioning, she is still expected to have an opinion on sport. Even when dealing with heavier topics, she reduced me to tears with killer punchlines and her trademark acerbic humour.
Part of Scott’s brilliance comes in her impressive crowd work. She made a concerted effort at the beginning to learn the names of her audience, and continually played with certain members throughout with the authenticity of a close friend. The post-mortem of her jokes and how they were received by certain demographics of the audience got a bit old, but nevertheless showed a performer with a rare command over the stage.
Over halfway through the show, the tone changes as Scott shares a deeply personal story which really demonstrated Scott’s versatility as a writer and performer. Scott signals this moment by calling it the ‘Nanette turn’, a reference to Hannah Gadsby’s genre-bending comedy hour. This is Scott’s story to tell so I will not spoil it, but it is incredibly hard-hitting, making the show’s resolution the more powerful.
Dropping in the “easter egg” of the show’s title, Scott makes it clear early on that she does not want to be called an inspiration. This is a hard case to make after watching this hour of stand-up. Irreverent, impactful and laugh-out-loud funny – Such an Inspiration is stand-up comedy at its very finest.
Recommended Drink: Such an Inspiration is a martini with a lemon twist – sophisticated and zesty.
Catch Such an Inspiration until 4th March. Tickets are available through the Adelaide Fringe Box Office.