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It's Not Funny, It's Private - Sydney Comedy Festival 2024 (NSW)

Written and performed by Jenna Suffern


Drawing the perfect balance between cringe-worthy discomfort and comedic brilliance, the work is a poignant and hilarious reminder that sometimes, laughter truly is the best medicine, even in the face of adversity.


Reviewed by Tessa Miles

The Factory Theatre, Marrickville

8 & 10 May


In It's Not Funny, It's Private, Jenna Suffern delivers a raw and relatable performance that blurs the lines between comedy and vulnerability. This solo show at the Sydney Comedy Festival is a deeply personal exploration of life's ups and downs, delivered with a healthy dose of lesbian humour.

 

Suffern’s commitment and flair invites the audience into their living room and her world, where we witness their unravelling in the aftermath of several life-altering events. From losing a job to losing a girlfriend and deciding to begin a career as a stand-up comedian, Suffern lays bare their struggles with heartbreak and the unconventional coping mechanisms they adopt. This includes literal song and dance numbers that add a unique twist to her storytelling, and the internal monologue voiced by the Lea Michele. Suffern is already eerily mirroring the experiences of lesbian heartbreak, the struggles to break into stand-up comedy on the internet through livestreaming, but also taps into the musical theatre kid world as well with some on-the-nose jokes and references.




Suffern walks a fine line between cringe-worthy discomfort and comedic brilliance, yet it's precisely this balance that keeps the audience engaged and invested in her journey. It’s almost too relatable, you’re obligated to laugh at the similarities one can draw from personal experiences. Despite moments of second-hand embarrassment and a little bit of pity from the audience, Suffern's authenticity shines through, drawing us closer to her character and ultimately winning us over with their unapologetic humour and vulnerability.

 

By the end of the show, Suffern's energetic performance, coupled with her fearless embracing of the absurd, leaves us fully immersed in her world, laughing along with her as she confronts life's challenges head-on. It's Not Funny, It's Private is a poignant and hilarious reminder that sometimes, laughter truly is the best medicine, even in the face of adversity.


 


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