One of the things that I enjoyed most about Sarah Millican's if.comedy newcomer award-winning show last year was its earthy and bawdy tone as well as the canny pacing of proceedings. Following up a winning show is never easy and while this one reinforces the natural ability of Millican for comedy, it is muted by comparison. Many new to Millican will still walk away impressed by her, recognising that she is up there with the big boys, breaking down the stigma that suggests that women just aren't funny.
As if to underline the sense of her equality in the comedy world and beyond, the Geordie comic's show this year is about finding out how typical a woman she is, and what male and female traits she exhibits. Although as a former film student she could match, for the most part, the male students' knowledge of the first Star Wars trilogy, she undermined herself when she once asked them: "which was the one with all the teddies in it again?" Likewise, when stranded in her car after feeding it the wrong fuel, she proves adept at fending off the abuse of men driving past and offering their "advice".
One minute feisty, the next almost tender, Millican doesn't go for the jugular as much as she did last year and it's down to individual tastes as to whether that is a good ploy. More tangibly, I think that it was a mistake to get her audience-participation piece in as early. She asks us what is best about being a man or woman and gets the response "playing in the mud" from one young man. While there's material to be mined here, I felt the show needed to build a little more before throwing it open and taking it back on its steady course.
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