Comedy reviews: Jordan Gray, Anna Piper Scott, MICF

Two trailblazing trans comics taking this year's Melbourne Comedy Festival by storm.

Jordan Gray: Is It A Bird?

Believe the hype. UK comic Jordan Gray has been smashing it at this year’s Comedy Festival among critics and audiences alike – sweeping the festival with 10s across the board. I, for one, am here for it.

Like some wild nymph, Gray bursts onto the stage and proceeds to straddle the makeshift piano stool – contorting her body in many marvellous and twisted ways while flexing her musical prowess and knockout vocal abilities.

Across the remaining 50 minutes of the work, the audience is left in stitches. 

The humour is so pointed it almost hurts, and that represents so much of this performance’s beauty. With the title of the show both a subtle dig at transphobes and a nod to superheroes, Is It A Bird? will stay with me for a long time to come.

But why exactly? Well, as a member of the trans/non-binary community I cannot stress how important or necessary such a show and this type of representation is, particularly in light of recent events that transpired on the steps of Victoria’s Parliament. That incident, which caused such hurt and fear in our community, is referenced by Gray within moments of the show opening. She manages to reclaim space and heal some of this pain. 

In the closing scenes where Gray appears fully naked, you can palpably feel her power as she holds the audience’s attention tightly in her grasp.

As we continue to fight against outdated and damaging ideals, representation like this is vital. Go and experience the hype for yourself: a show as good as this only comes around every so often.

Jordan Gray: Is it A Bird is playing at the Melbourne Town Hall until 23 April as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tickets: $28-$35

Anna Piper Scott: Is This Anything?

Outside it was wet, windy and cold, but inside the warmth of the theatre, another trailblazing trans comic brought her audience together in a performance that was entirely unscripted and unrehearsed. It could have easily crashed and burnt; however, Is This Anything? soared like a phoenix.

Anna Piper Scott: Photo: Supplied

With its white-hot commentary, this was certainly not a show for those who detest audience participation, because here the audience and their stories became the focal point for Scott’s performance. In this rarest of ways and within less than an hour, we were made to feel as though we were now part of a community. Outside, everything just melted away as, one by one, audience members were beautifully yet lovingly roasted by Scott – who leant into her neurodiversity in the most perfect of ways. Scott made no apologies and took no prisoners here. Is This Anything? Absolutely.

Read: Comedy reviews: Circus Oz, Jeff Green, Mark Watson, MICF

A triumphant performance such as this was the marker of a truly talented performer. Although the season for this show has already finished, you can still catch Anna Piper Scott in their equally brilliant Such An Inspiration until 23 April.

Anna Piper Scott: Is This Anything? was performed at the Motely Bauhaus Black Box from 5-7 April 2023 as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Anna Piper Scott: Such An Inspiration is playing at the Motely Bauhaus Black Box until 23 April 2023 as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tickets: $20.50-$28.50

Jessi Ryan (they/them) has been creating performance and exhibitions for the past 20 years, both locally, nationally and abroad- in this time collaborating with a huge number of artists from a broad cross section of cultural backgrounds. As a journalist they have written for and been published by some of Australia’s leading arts and news editorial across the last 10 years-and was recognised as a finalist for Globe Community Media Award in 2021. Ryan has also taken photos for a number of print and online publications.