Reviewed by Rachael Sulaiman.
Sophie Duker takes us on an out-of-this-world tour of privilege, Pokémon and pet-peeves during her debut stand-up hour, discussing her experiences being simultaneously fetishized and critiqued as a woman of colour.
The Stacey Dooley joke in particular was delivered well, with the serious charity set-up but the mockery of celebrities on screen. While the audience howl with laughter, Duker raises a serious point about white saviourism: how it lies unquestioned and the way in which it sneaks into social media under the guise of activism or Tinder thirst traps. The end credits to the show feature a subversive joke on the same topic, having the audience stay to watch instead of leaving.
The show was full of observational comedy in which Duker feasted on the delicious racial tension: hilarious in her crowd work, use of crowd assumptions and discussion on lack of role models for women of colour – delving into one example of her role model in fact being a porn star. The lack of male role models in her life, too, is entertainingly balanced with jokes about children’s shows – each trauma is made funny and relatable to the audience with her skill. Duker even pulls out the twisted way in which we might be attracted to cartoon characters, a topic I’ve never seen broached before but definitely exists. She continually keeps the audience on their toes and checking themselves while laughing away.
Duker’s descriptions are one of a kind – a personal favourite being “plain old ready salted daddy” – turning the most general observational comedy into a super original point-of view from the too-little heard perspective of women of colour.
If you fancy coming out of a show laughing and also questioning your privilege, who your role models are, and whether to update your Tinder then get yourself down the Pleasance Below.
Sophie Duker: Venus runs at Pleasance Below at 19:00 until 25th August.