Michelle Wolf Garrison, Toronto ON, October 3

Michelle Wolf Garrison, Toronto ON, October 3
Photo: Mindy Tucker
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Michelle Wolf brought the house down at the Garrison. It was the last night of a brilliant JFL42 week, and with Wolf performing two back-to-back sets, there was hardly a better way to spend it.
 
Wolf, a correspondent and writer on Late Night with Seth Meyers, is an observational wizard. She was candid and understated in her own way, and there was something about her that wasn't very comedian-like. It was rarely easy to tell where she was going with something when she began on a new topic of interest. There were no obvious set-ups, none of the obvious trappings of formulaic or predictable humor. She wasn't the kind of comedian one would have immediately expected to go for the infamous but tantalizing prospect of a Cosby joke, but dug right in telling two of the best Cosby jokes of the summer — and there was a lot of competition.
 
Wolf's audience was a such a cackling mess that you could judge the reception of a joke — with reasonable accuracy — by how much creaking the foldout chairs made as they slid and creaked around the floor. There was a lot of that.
 
Michelle Wolf's hour didn't seem to have one overriding theme. Her jokes and topics seemed to be a nondescript collection of her best material so far. While one joke about body image was from one of her appearances on Late Night with Seth Myers, most of her jokes at least bore the illusion of new, so her set did not come off as a greatest hits collection of material. Rather, Wolf's lack of an overarching narrative or point seemed to work in favour of who she appeared to be on stage — rooted, normal, but somewhat frazzled at the edges.