Robby Hoffman: Review

Rachel Creeger

Rachel Creeger

Robby Hoffman’s eponymously titled show is an experience. With aggressive crowd work from the outset, she lays out her stall with the words “it’s not for everyone”. There follows 45 minutes of exploration around a range of topics, with some truly original hot takes on subjects such as why war exists, the invention of the window, and who is actually gay.

The show challenges any complacency in the room, especially around the use of language. Hoffman tells us that however bad a name we think we’ve been called, there will be someone who’s been called something worse, in fact life itself is likely to get worse, so you may as well accept that you’re at your best right now. 

The comedy is dark and biting, but at the same time there is a warmth and vulnerability about this performer that draws you in. She reflects on this within the show, one moment bringing the house lights up and interrogating members of the audience, the next considering how she comes across as rough around the edges but in reality is a cutie and a delight to work with.

References to her Jewish heritage are peppered throughout the show, and as a Jew in the audience, (and as a Jew, I can tell you that we don’t usually like the expression “as a Jew”), I found it incredibly liberating to hear another comedian use expressions such as *chas veshalom and **mazeltov casually on stage, sitting uncompromisingly in their own ethnicity. It seemed like there were some elements of the set which were more polished than others which gave it an occasional air of a work in progress, but when Hoffman settled in to a “bit” the language was honed and packed a punch.

On this occasion, the show was opened by Robby’s co-host from the “Too Far” podcast, Rachel Kaly. With macabre, well-structured jokes and a catchphrase of “you guys heard of this?”, Kaly set the room up perfectly for what was to come.

Restful, gentle comedy this ain’t, but it’s never boring.

(*colloquially: God forbid)

(** colloquially: congratulations)

Editor’s note: Apologies for the late posting of this review due to lack of resources. Robby Hoffman was at the Soho Theatre, London until 16th March.

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