Published Aug 30, 2016As the title of her special suggests, Heather McDonald doesn't mean to brag, but things are going well for her. This married mother of three brunches with Hollywood moms, gets recognized from her TV appearances, and has trouble finding choosing the right dress from what a stylist sends her for a red carpet event. Are you laughing yet?
I am not Heather McDonald's ideal audience, but I'm not certain even she knows who would be. While she riffs amusingly on standard tropes like a cheap spouse, divorced vs. married women and bratty kids, she discordantly throws in lines about "dyke-y TSA agents," swingers and a truly jarring closer about marital rape. It's not that these are taboo topics that shouldn't be discussed; they just feel shoe-horned in as if McDonald is trying to meet an arbitrary gasp-laugh quota.
Also smattered throughout the set are celebrity impressions, which again don't feel as if they belong necessarily, but McDonald's facility here makes up it. Her Drew Barrymore is especially impressive, and an extended gag about Barrymore hawking lipstick, and lash blast mascara being counter-intuitive in light of the actress's sibilant "s" proves one of her best laughs of the night. Equally strong are her takes on Jennifer Aniston and Celine Dion, though her Nancy Grace falls short.
There are great lines and bits throughout I Don't Mean to Brag. McDonald tells her kids, "There are kids in Africa who have no apps at all." She opines that, while it's no fun if your husband is cheap, "there's a good chance he won't spend a grand on a hooker." She hopes one of her sons is gay because "who else is going to take me to brunch every Sunday when I'm old?" But overall, the hour struggles to sustain its footing.
One can't blame McDonald for trying several different comedic approaches to appeal to the widest audience possible, but the result is a disjointed set that feels more calculated than genuine. Once she finds her definitive comedic voice and records that special, I'm confident the result will be something worth bragging about.
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