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Sam Jay

  • Comedy on State 202 State Street Madison, Wisconsin 5307 United States (map)

The stand-up unpacks love, race, and sexuality with slyly inventive material. Info/tix

Photo by Hunter Peress.

Photo by Hunter Peress.

On her 2018 album Donna's Daughter, Boston-raised comedian and Saturday Night Live writer Sam Jay puts a lot of vulnerability into her stand-up, but not through sheepishness or making herself the butt of every joke. Lots of comedians are self-deprecating, but this is something different. The bits here, interspersed with musical interludes and candid interviews, use scorched-earth honesty to unpack the twists and turns of being a black lesbian in America. A comic has to thread a pretty fine needle to get good material out of a marriage-ending fight that turned violent, but Jay does it by exploring how her ex and the cops interpreted all the scrambled social cues involved in the event ("I may be a wife with dick-holes in my underwear, but a wife still the same, and you hit me, bitch"). Throughout it all, Jay comes is cool and unfazed, comfortably slinging darkly funny truths even when they come from her own raw experience. Elsewhere, Jay holds up carpooling with Uber Pool as an example of the subtle class structures built into technology ("fuck—this is a little bus!") and explains why she thinks white people are aliens. However outlandish or familiar the subject may be, Jay makes her slyly inventive commentary sound conversational and effortless. —Scott Gordon

Earlier Event: August 15
DakhaBrakha, Yid Vicious (free)
Later Event: August 17