Sara Hennessey JFL42, Comedy Bar, Toronto ON, September 23
Published Sep 24, 2017Sara Hennessey and opener Andrew Johnston are two of Ontario's most promising young comedians with a lot in common. Both are unabashedly expressive, almost entirely inward-looking artists bent on long form comedy. They like to string out embarrassing personal stories into small squirm-in-your-boots epics of cringe-laughing.
Johnston was a terrific opening act. A wildly vibrant performer in his own right, Johnston plunged without hesitation into the finer corners of internet porn, masturbation as a preventative measure against homosexuality — which did not work — and a particularly risqué bit about awful, terrible, ugly children that may have been his best piece.
Hennessey was, as always, a distinctly animated performer. If there were Batman-like noises for facial expressions and physical reactions, Hennessey would be the originator. She rarely seemed more than a goofy grimace away from bringing the house down.
Hennessey's material acted as a sort of counterpoint to her physical comedy. On stage, her wild gesticulations are always larger than life, but the content of her jokes are decidedly relatable. Failed romantic excursions were a constant touchstone. Being both the instigator and the most useless member of an escape room excursion was a particularly funny moment. When it comes to Hennessey it is difficult to capture the nature of her comedy without the influence of her presence and physicality.
Hennessey's interpretation of polyamory — bodies, bodies and more bodies — was definitely one of the highlights and a perfect closer at that, combining everything she excels at. While her set was not without some small lulls here and there, Hennessey was light on her toes and an incredible performer. She earned every bit of her reputation as a hometown favourite and a rising Canadian comic.