Laughter Lines: Alice Jones

Nude awakening: Meet Adrienne Truscott, the stand-up who performs naked from waist down

But her exposed genitals are the least outrageous element in her routine

It is safe to say that Adrienne Truscott is a stand-up like no other. For a start, she performs her comedy naked from the waist down. She wears a denim jacket and clonky heels, a wig, sunglasses and a smear of body glitter. And that's it.

When I first saw her, it was late on a Sunday night in a tiny bookshop behind Edinburgh's Royal Mile. As she walked out, bush bared, the 30-strong crowd squashed themselves into the shop window and walls as if a tiger had been let loose. Truscott didn't blink. "I'm comfortable", she said, swigging from a can of gin and tonic, "Even if none of you are."

To be fair, the show's title had given fair warning. Adrienne Truscott's Asking for It: A One-Lady Rape About Comedy Starring Her Pussy and Little Else sounds like the sort of thing you might studiously avoid in the cabaret listings of Time Out but it turned out to be a show so daring, unique and entertaining that I and my fellow judges on the Edinburgh Comedy Awards ended up giving it the Panel Prize at this year's Fringe.

Truscott will reprise the show on Sunday – in a double bill with fellow award-winner Bridget Christie – as part of Calm Down, Dear: a festival of feminism at Camden People's Theatre in London. A run at Soho Theatre will follow next year.

And Truscott won't be wearing trousers for any of it. In fact, her exposed genitals are probably the least shocking thing about the show. She also does a surprising, top-half striptease. She has footage of male performers, including George Carlin and Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver, projected onto her torso, so that her pubic hair provides them with comical 3D beards. And she engages in the audience banter of nightmares: "Y'all ready for a night of comedy? Anyone here been raped?"

There is a point to this provocation. Truscott's entire 50-minute show is a witty, occasionally dazzling take-down of the rape joke, which continues to be a set staple for certain macho comedians, from Jimmy Carr to Louis CK. As she points out, "It's been a big year for rape in comedy", what with the American stand-up Daniel Tosh tackling a female heckler with the words "Wouldn't it be funny if that girl got raped by five guys, right now?"

If it all sounds rather right-on, it isn't. Truscott, one half of the New York cabaret duo The Wau Wau Sisters, is a canny performer, disguising a steely agenda beneath a charming layer of fluff and, yes, jokes. As for the nudity - like the 12 GnTs she knocks back, the giant heels and the outrageous flirting, it is no indicator that she is "asking for it". Rather it is the not-at-all gratuitous crux of a bold and beautiful show. Go, at the very least, you won't see another Travis Bickle impression quite like it.

Jack Black's comedy festival would be a hit on UK shores

Adam Sandler sang a song about Phil Spector, Eric Idle duetted with Billy Idol on "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" and Zach Galifianakis made the crowd wait two hours for a 10-minute set during which he claimed to be Banksy.

This was the first ever Festival Supreme, a day of musical comedy on Santa Monica pier last weekend, curated by Jack Black and headlined by his self-consciously awesome rock band Tenacious D. Sarah Silverman, Reggie Watts, The Mighty Boosh and Maya Rudolph's all-female Prince tribute band, Princess, were also on the bill and Conan O'Brien and Andy Samberg's hip-hop spoofers The Lonely Island turned up as surprise guests.

It sounds excellent – a sort of Saturday Night Live, live. Only one major musical comic was missing – Tim Minchin. He missed his slot thanks to his American work visa not arriving in time. Perhaps he should think about setting up a UK version this summer instead. We may not have the superstar factory that is Saturday Night Live but with honorary Brit Minchin, Bill Bailey and the newly relaunched David Brent, Britain's got more than enough talent to fill a few tents.

What I watched this week

BRYONY KIMMINGS 

At Soho Theatre, London. A timely, tender, tear-jerker of a show about finding role models for young girls, starring Kimmings and her charming 9-year-old niece, Taylor.

TOAST OF LONDON 

Matt Berry's bonkers new Channel 4 sitcom about a jobbing actor, featuring the excellently unsettling Emma Fryer as Susan Random. Listen out for the best character names on TV – on Sunday, Clem Fandango and Acker Herron join the fray.

PETER SERAFINOWICZ

Singing the first page of Morrissey's autobiography in the rocker's trademark whine. Simple, yes, but hypnotically funny.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pedro Pascal gives a weird look at the camera in the blooper reel

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Public vote: Art Everywhere poster in a bus shelter featuring John Hoyland
art
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Judd Apatow’s make-it-up-as-you-go-along approach is ideal for comedies about stoners and slackers slouching towards adulthood
filmWith comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Arts and Entertainment
booksForget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Arts and Entertainment
Off set: Bab El Hara
tvTV series are being filmed outside the country, but the influence of the regime is still being felt
Arts and Entertainment
Red Bastard: Where self-realisation is delivered through monstrous clowning and audience interaction
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rhino Doodle by Jim Carter (Downton Abbey)

TV
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film

film
Arts and Entertainment
Comedian 'Weird Al' Yankovic

Is the comedy album making a comeback?

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in the first-look Fifty Shades of Grey movie still

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, centre, are up for Best Female TV Comic for their presenting quips on The Great British Bake Off

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules

film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

    Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on