Throughout Becky Lucas' one-hour set, she uses a few choice phrases to describe herself.
She's a cancer "both astrologically and socially", as well as the "friend from uni you hang out with but don't really like". That cynical, self-deprecating attitude is a constant source of delight in her new show, Um, Support Me?
In a festival that has become increasingly dominated by sketch comedy, it actually feels refreshing for someone to spend a full hour simply telling jokes. Lucas spices up a traditional routine with her fresh eye that comically eviscerates anything that comes her way.
Millennials and boomers are the most common targets, but Lucas' topics are broad, tackling misogyny and "meninists" on social media before segueing into depressed dogs. Often stand-up comics try to forge every joke together to form some sparkling mosaic of comedy, but Lucas simply sails by thanks to her quickfire delivery, acerbic wit, and charismatic cynicism.
It means a slightly messy flow between anecdotes, but Lucas' comedic sensibilities shine regardless. Her stories stand on their own accord, delivering a message without preaching to the converted and picking apart modern tropes without making a song and dance about doing "observational" comedy.
She is also an expert interactor, often surprising the front few rows with questions whether they want them or not. Kiwi crowds always come across awkwardly in these encounters, but Lucas worked wonders with what she managed to mine out of the audience. She thrives despite the difficult crowd, though a venue a little bigger than The Basement's stuffy studio would allow her more room to showcase her talents.
At one point, Lucas defends her cynicism by saying that she was simply born that way, dismissively rolling her eyes at her mother and the nurses. It's easy to believe, given how she is a fully formed and exceptionally funny stand-up.
There is nothing grand, gimmicky or overcrafted about her set, it is simply pure comedy through and through, performed with an assured confidence that far outshines any weaker moments.
Who: Becky Lucas
What: NZ Comedy Festival show 'Um, Support Me'
Where: Basement Theatre Studio until May 12