Review by Thomas Gregory
A year ago, I had the pleasure of reviewing Gabbi Bolt’s first MICF show… no, wait. That can’t be right. That was only the first? Surely, someone could not become so polished and entertaining in such a short - oh, that’s right, it’s Gabbi Bolt.
Many of my concerns from that first show have disappeared. “Odd Sock” is a well-paced, whip-smart show that moves from strength to strength, climaxing in one of the best songs of the night. Rather than hide behind stereotypical characters, Gabbi almost has embraced her awkwardness and anxiety and made them a part of an on-stage persona you want to love. Her outfit is no less eye-catching than last year, and she is more willing, if not comfortable, to let her keyboard act as a minor physical buffer between her and the audience she both fears and adores.
It’s well known that politics is often low-hanging fruit for comedians, and so many newer comedians often find their apolitical pieces falling flat. As Bolt moves to more accessible content, easier to love for all ages and perspectives, her comedy has not suffered. It has grown. As she starts the night, Gabbi Bolt makes it clear that she doesn’t want to talk about the government and stands by it. While she jokes about the possibility of a song offending the police, only the officer with zero sense of humour would be offended. The only person who could be offended by Bolt would be a literal Nazi (or hater of cute german shepherds, which is basically the same thing).
The highlight of the night for all audience members would have to be Bolt’s love letter to Andrew Garfield. Was it because it was so wholesome that it was so appealing? Was it because few could disagree with her taste in men? Whatever the reason, the song had people laughing and swooning at the same time. As a reviewer who sometimes feels too old for even these 7 pm shows, my personal favourite was a song reflecting on that special hour when you realise you are no longer a youth.
Like many modern MICF comedians, Bolt has embraced the concept of the projector as partner. However, she rarely relies on images alone to carry her jokes, and her sense of timing is impeccable. Perhaps fearful of having a show with little “movement”, Gabbi attempts to chat with the audience members who, while willing and supportive, perhaps would have preferred another of her incredible songs.
If there is any concrete criticism to make, besides any nit-picking above, it is that Bolt has yet to find that fine line between the real-world anxiety of being a live performer and the confidence that many of her audience members came as fans. Before going to see Gabbi Bolt, I saw three separate social media posts from people not affiliated with the comedian, gushing over her opening night or excitedly announcing they would be seeing the show this weekend.
I also cannot help but compare her to Tripod, that trio of musical comedians I have been following since the turn of the century, and note how their banter appears so effortlessly as to be mistaken for impromptu improvisation. As Gabbi Bolt becomes more confident with what she has written, I can imagine her surpassing these comedians; for now, good jokes fall flat simply because the audience struggle with the fact they are scripted. It is difficult to admit you are loved as an artist, but the more Bolt embraces this fact, the stronger her shows will become.
“Odd Sock” is destined to be a sell-out show, and I recommend getting tickets while you can. On the odd chance you are too slow, at very least, add her on social media, check out her songs online, and consider joining her OnlyFans for those juicy, juicy feet pics.