DEBRA DIGIOVANNI at the Laugh Resort, November 25, late show. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Everyone knows how important a good crowd is to live comedy. (Or even a comic movie; try seeing Borat in an empty theatre.) So what a disappointment to catch a recent Debra DiGiovanni headlining set nearly ruined by one rowdy corner of out-of-towners.
Laid-back host Fraser Young smartly drew attention to the noisy table (a classic way of heading off potential hecklers), and opening acts Ron Sparks and Alex Nussbaum managed to cut through the chatter to deliver some solid laughs. Sparks's monotone delivery of his out-in-left-field observations meshed well with Nussbaum's over-caffeinated hyper-self-conscious routine.
But once DiGiovanni stepped onstage, it was another story. A first-rate comic and one of those catty commentators on MuchMusic's Video On Trial, DiGiovanni is great at eliciting an audience's empathy. Her act's built on it, as you can tell from her many punctuating "You know what I mean?" queries at the end of jokes, most of which deal with her singleton life and plus-size figure.
But if the chemistry - or her attention - is off, she ends up looking nervous and ruining her set's natural rhythms. A shame.