On the opening night of her show, Robby Hoffman was wondering if she should be getting something to eat, since the last meal she ate was breakfast at 2pm. She’s looking sharp, a little bit nervous, and irreverent, dressed in a fuschia blazer and a floral bowtie.
As a relative newcomer to the scene – as of this month, she’s been doing comedy for one and a half years – Hoffman said she’s thrilled with the opportunities she’s been given so far. She describes the comedy scene in Montreal as “small but active,” crediting underground establishments like Darren Henwood’s comedy loft – which was closed down, but revived by Henwood in the Jean-Talon market area – as one of the reasons for Montreal’s thriving scene.
When asked how her identity plays into her comedy, she answers: “my identity is my comedy. It’s my exaggerated self on stage. Everything you hear has happened to me. Did I yell at everybody that pissed me off on the metro? No. Do I, onstage? Yes. It’s fun to be that extreme version of myself. It’s just a blast. It’s completely me.”
Since this is her second appearance in the Montreal Fringe festival, Hoffman said she won’t be introducing her personal biography to the audience as she did with the first show.
“Last year was the intro show to me; it was personal in a sense that I told you about my background,” she said. “This year I don’t necessarily do that. I infer, but I don’t have to tell you…I don’t necessarily tell you everything, but I tell you stories.”
When asked to describe her one-woman comedy show at the Fringe Festival in three words, Robby Hoffman’s lexical picks were: innovative, funny, and authentic. The sold-out opening night show of her second solo show, “Robby Hoffman: Autobiography (What, so you think you’re better than me?)” lived up to the description and some more.
Divided between Hoffman doing a comedy routine and video clip showings featuring Hoffman interviewing those close to her, the show provides an innovative twist on the old stand-up comedy form. The frankness displayed by those who know her provides great humour, and a new pace unexpected from a comedy routine. The banter between Hoffman and her subjects provide a window into Hoffman’s personal relationships that the audience might not have had access to otherwise.
Touching on everything from coming out to friends, reality TV, sketchy rideshares, and living in Verdun, Hoffman’s comedy is direct and in-your-face. Her irreverent and sharp delivery kept the audience asking for more by the end. She doesn’t shy away from politically incorrect subject matter either, such as Montreal’s homeless population and the prevalence of pregnant teens and the “dripping women” of Verdun.
Do yourself a favour and go see this budding comedy star perform – then you can tell people five years down the road that you got to see Robby Hoffman before everybody else did.
Robby Hoffman’s one-woman comedy show “Robby Hoffman: Autobiography (What, so you think you’re better than me?).” will continue its run on June 14, 17, 18, and 19 at Le Petit Campus. For showtimes and tickets, please visit the Montreal Fringe website.