Published Jun 01, 2015Exclaim! is reviewing every standup comedy special currently available on Netflix Canada, including this one. You can find a complete list of reviews so far here.
Jen Kirkman's new Netflix special I'm Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine) is a feature-length brow-beating that is both quizzical in nature and mystified in practice. Kirkman, the cool aunt you never had — or the reckless chum you sometimes wish you didn't — is a round-the-clock material sponge. Her special is a tirade, a personal manifesto, and a formal complaint to those in charge of "it all," wrapped up in a wink and a nudge that suggests these things might be better discussed with a cigarette in the parking lot.
I'm Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine) covers a variety of topics that range from the unbelievable stupidity of everyday people, to the pitfalls of marriage, an averse attitude towards children, and the intricacies of dating someone half your age. Yet, in spite of some very funny moments, to say Kirkman covers any new ground would be a mighty stretch.
The set is bookended by what could be described as alt-comedy sketches — essentially people being awkward in undecorated green rooms and stage wings. They served mainly as amusing extrapolations of the material covered in Kirkman's set. Short as they were, these sketches gave Kirkman the opportunity to shine as a comedic actor. Had the sketches been interspersed throughout the set, however, they might have had a greater impact.
Kirkman is nothing if not consistent. Her set is almost entirely bereft of gaps or lulls. While in some cases this works to her advantage — she certainly fits an impressive amount of material into 75 minutes — it does prove to be a double-edged sword. Her presence on stage never changes — she practically refuses to deviate from it — maintaining the same level of intensity throughout her set. There is very little dramatic rise and fall (e.g., from conversational to furious, depressed to elated, absurd to serious). Without the variance that audiences may subliminally expect from a comedian, what might have made for an engaging live show, or a superb 30-minute televised broadcast, makes for a somewhat stagnant experience. (Netflix)