Mae Martin Calls Out Discriminatory Comedians by Name on Empathetic, Insightful 'SAP'

Directed by Abbi Jacobson

Photo courtesy of Netflix

BY Vish KhannaPublished Apr 4, 2023

With a bright mix of pointed commentary, surprising candour and charming self-effacement, Mae Martin brings a Vancouver audience to its feet during their excellent stand-up special, SAP. On a stage rammed full of evergreen forestry, the Canadian expat uses a clearing to reflect upon their life with joyful bemusement that's infectious. 

Martin's British parents are lovingly lampooned, as they highlight their eccentricities and how various statements and actions have definitely impacted their perspectives (and their posture). There are bizarre family road trips to recount, some of which take on mythological and moose-related proportions. There's almost a childlike wonder in Martin's eyes, as they review such incidents and interactions as an adult.

In a sense, such experiences are recounted to get us to the present, and how Martin processes contemporaries and relationships, some of which may impact them more profoundly than others. They delve into their gender dysmorphia post-puberty and render this complicated era for them as entertaining as possible for us. There's even an unexpected turn where psychedelic drug use and bathwater are conflated in Martin's lively mind. 

Beyond such personal revelations, Martin also has fun with observational bits like how it's odd that we decorate our bedrooms, life in the mid-'90s, and other aesthetic and socio-cultural norms that have either come and gone, or have been permanently mutated by the advent of the internet. 

Later, in discussing gender and the current, odd controversies about how to define such things (and why), they make a point of mentioning transphobic and misogynistic comedians like Dave Chappelle, Ricky Gervais, Louis C.K. and Joe Rogan by name to highlight how frustrating it is to see them use their platforms for no good reason or positive purpose. 

Martin asserts their strong statement in such an unassuming manner, wildly invoking Beauty and the Beast and fantasizing about altering their mindsets, while also surveying what comedy is really like in a very fractured cultural landscape. As someone who has lived their specific life, Martin exudes empathy for those who may speak or act based on old ways of thinking, accepting that they are on their own journeys, but also knowing that minds are always capable of changing.   

Framed by outdoors-y remotes, SAP is open and free, with Mae Martin presenting funny and thoughtful material on a magical evening at the Vogue Theatre that feels fresh and crisp on the screen.

Latest Coverage