Esther Povitsky's Low-Key Charms Don't Overwhelm Just for Laughs

Just for Laughs, Montreal QC, July 25

BY Audrey CarletonPublished Jul 26, 2019

"My standup is more just get to know me and not really laugh hard," L.A.-based comedian Esther Povistky told a relatively quiet room — a self-aware assessment of how Povitsky's jokes landed at the Montreal Improv theatre. Maybe it was a tough crowd, maybe it was the late hour, but Povitsky's show seemed to miss the mark.
Povitsky herself is a relatively low-key comic. She brings a calm, understated energy to the stage that may work in many settings. After all, the comic's had a reasonably successful career that's included a run with the 2013 JFL New Faces, a spot on Variety's 2017 "10 Comics to Watch" list, and most recently, a recurring role in the CW's My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
But her low energy didn't seem to quite make the cut in the room last night. Perhaps it's because much of her comedy is based around short observations and one-liners, which can get old after a few minutes. Her standout bit was a story about the time her boyfriend of six years broke news to her on a romantic getaway that he would not be proposing; her setup and delivery was strong with this bit, and had she leaned into storytelling more throughout the show, it may have felt more compelling.
She ended her routine by going through a consenting audience member's purse, which was another one of the more entertaining bits of the night, as she explored Canadian rewards cards and lamented about how uncolourful American money is, speaking entirely off-the-cuff. This bit ended the set on a strong note, though had she led with it, she might've engaged an otherwise only mildly enthused room earlier.
While unremarkable, Povitsky's set showed glimmers of promise that, if exercised more, would turn her set into a more engaging watch.

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