Lucy McCormick’s recent Fringe show, Post Popular, reprises the comically narcissistic persona used in her 2016 show, Triple Threat, but this time with added trauma. ‘Lucy’ was more broadly comic in the first show, but now there are hints of a darker backstory: she mentions the death of her father and there are oblique references to an unresolved and uneasy paternal relationship. These traces of trauma are very deliberate: both as a strategic comic device – the means to incongruity, so central as means of provoking laughter – and as a way of denying the audience easy satisfaction. If a comic frame is one way of bringing more risk to the room – through the intensity of the engagement with the audience for example, which is so different to that of a theatre audience – it is also true that live comedy as a genre can be too safe – particularly given the obligation to defuse tension through jokes or punchlines. By complicating her vapid persona, and introducing the implication of dissociation to her deadpan delivery, McCormick suggests an intriguingly pathological dimension to a mainstay of comic art.
© Emma Sullivan 2019.