Kiran Deol: “Joysuck” at Edinburgh Fringe 2023

**** (out of 5)

“A villain is just a victim whose story hasn’t been told.”

The story at the heart of Kiran Deol’s hour makes no bones about the fact that she was the victim of a brutal attack, a stranger smashing a bottle into her face, unprovoked, late one night this past December in Los Angeles. But Deol doesn’t want to see herself as the victim. She wants agency. That’s what her Academy Award shortlisted short film was all about. Deol yearns to enter her villain era, and jokingly recalls learning the art of villainy from her mom, who taught her how to verbally fight back against early racism from white English girls Ruth and Natalie. How can she effectively counter her Californian attacker? There’s a court case, to be sure. But there are other ways to punish a criminal. And sometimes the best self-defense remains one of the oldest jokes in the business. Even in the courtroom. There’s a coda to Deol’s story which visualizes her new villain era courtesy of an origin story montage. I’d tell you more, but turns out, that’s a HIPAA violation.

I saw Deol workshopping Joysuck in Brooklyn barely a month ago, enjoyed it then, and to see how much sharper and more powerful it has become is a testament to her skills as a performer and storyteller.

Kiran Deol: Joysuck runs through Aug. 28 at Gilded Balloon Teviot Lounge

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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