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Lauren Edwards, the Millennial Comic that Gen Z Liked

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Let’s be real for a second. Typically the word “millennial” is enough to make anyone my age shudder a little, thinking about the ‘millennial pause’ or the painful phrase “I did a thing” (I’m looking at you, Nick Jonas). So when a comedy show is unironically marketed as a “masterpiece of millennial misery,” you’d expect some red flags to be waving, and rather aggressively, in my face.

But I ignored the red flags and the millennial bullying of my generation online, and took myself (and my mum, of course) to Lauren Edward’s latest Melbourne International Comedy Festival Show, 'Everything is a Lie'.

And it was a blast.

Before she uttered her first word, I knew this was a great choice as Edwards stepped on stage in a Golden Girls t-shirt. While this would ordinarily send me into a downward spiral of determining which Golden Girl I was most like (currently leaning towards Dorothy), her strong comedic presence from the very outset was enough to snap me out of it and eliminate thoughts of the Buzzfeed personality quizzes I’d surely be taking later.

Edward kicks off her set and speaks against the current comedy trend of defining yourself as a performer using simplistic adjectives, whether it be as a queer comedian, female comedian, or a “basic bitch comedian.” And her show is a testament to the limitations of these labels. Edwards effortlessly transcends genres, employing conventional stand-up comedy filled with relatable anecdotes, nostalgia and rants of existential dread alongside satirical musical comedy numbers that call for audience interaction, choreographed dance numbers and even quieter moments of reflection as she sings about climate anxiety (a rough song to end on for my mental wellbeing, let me tell you).

In a moment of (rightfully) great pride, Edwards shares that she is “blocked by about 75% of the Liberal party on Twitter,” further complicating her complex comedic persona. She is both the “Michael Bublé of comedy” and a “conservative uncle’s worst nightmare,” a contradictory balance yet one Edwards completely embodies in her struggle to express her feminine angst in a world that would rather she subdue it in the form of gratitude journals.

And while her hesitations towards the idea of ageing may be a few steps ahead of mine, I couldn’t help but relate to her fear that one day she’ll be old enough to appropriately embellish her phone with a case that flips outwards or share a minion meme on Facebook. This terrifying thought spawned the question I’ve been too afraid to ask all these years: “Where do the minion memes come from?”

And if I wasn’t already completely enamoured by her comedic talent, her identification as the eldest child sealed the deal, establishing a solidarity among eldest daughters everywhere. From there on out, her jokes were backed by natural eldest-child wit (caused, of course, by eldest-child trauma), including her recounts of having developed humour as a coping mechanism for going through high school in a back brace, or turning to Dolly magazine for guidance.

Following the rite of every good comedy show, her final act was the absolute peak. I mean, really, what could top an outrageous presentation about the intricacies of the Bermuda Triangle ride at Seaworld? I’ve never even been on the ride, but after her incredibly detailed (and hilariously hand-made) visual aid, I feel like I have and desperately want to. In this way, her final declaration of herself as the “theme park comedian of Australia” was the perfect punchline, cleverly returning to her earliest concerns of self-definition to tie up the show in a deliciously satisfying manner. And really, what label could be better than that?

Edwards really is the guest every person wants at a party or boring family function, but in the likely case that that’s inappropriate, her show will most certainly suffice. With her final show this upcoming Saturday, you absolutely must get in quickly.

 
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