Good comedy does more than just make people laugh. Great comedy like this connects the audience with the performer, and also with one another.
The promo explains that Diana Nguyen is “back in her hometown to talk all about the dirty”. While my comedy companion (a very mild-mannered Chinese man) found himself quite overwhelmed by the show’s frequent sexual references, I’m delighted to say, I LOVED it. Hilarious, bawdy, raw — I enjoyed absolutely every minute of getting dirty with Diana.
Admittedly, I knew nothing about Nguyen until two days before her show. I quickly checked out a selection of videos following a Google search, including some that were almost home videos: Diana on a boat, Diana driving to move back home. Armed with very little prior knowledge, I had no clear expectations.
For those not faint of heart, Nguyen is the perfect mix of dirty-funny: uninhibited and energetic, with smooth dance moves and great singing. Storyville is an intimate venue and perfect fit for a very interactive show. On the night this reviewer saw the show, the cosy crowd were so responsive with funny interjections that occasionally Nguyen wondered: “is this your show or my show?!”
Either way, the show lives up to its name. Dirty indeed. Watch for Nguyen’s “just put it in”, her 10pm tingling, the basketball dance, and her mum’s Phó/fur. English isn’t my first language, so I had to wait until afterwards to understand the ‘shart’ guy, but I was right there for the ukulele climax. Kudos to Nguyen for pulling the threads of disparate stories together with hilarious humour, while weaving in her poignant experiences as an Asian female actor in Australia.
Being Asian, female and single myself, some of the sketches felt almost too close to the bone. From Bumble to LinkedIn and back to Tinder, Nguyen is always hopeful for love. Nguyen’s “tiger mother” features strongly as a character, kicking Nguyen out for having sex with a boyfriend as a teen, emerging later to encourage her to “just put it in” when she’s in her 30s; the same mother who wanted Nguyen to be a doctor is also standing in the back of the room applauding her achievements on her path to “deviance”, the kind of mother who’s ready to jump onto the stage with a bathrobe. There is love in Nguyen’s portrayal, together with broad humour. A gentle touch.
Good comedy does more than just make people laugh. Great comedy like this connects the audience with the performer, and also with one another. Even when the narrative isn’t entirely perfect, Dirty Diana makes you laugh, sometimes with a sense of helplessness because that which is so fucked up is also so true, sometimes your eyes are a little moist because the heart feels a gentle touch.
Definitely a big a thumb up. Go and check this out. Support this great performer, and her IVF fund, too.
Diana Nguyen, Dirty Diana, is appearing at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival from 27 March 21 April 2019.
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