JFL42 review: Esther Povitsky at the Garrison


ESTHER POVITSKY at JFL42, Sep 20, 7 pm, the Garrison. More performances until September 22. Rating: NNNN

Esther Povitsky’s entrance music for her JFL42 set at the Garrison last night was Britney Spears’s Oops!… I Did It Again. A fitting phrase for a young comic whose jokes have a sorry-not-sorry millennial snap to them. 

The pint-sized Povitsky, a recurring character on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and the star and co-creator of Hulu’s Alone Together, has perfected her bratty stage persona – that of the slightly pampered princess who always needs to be the centre of attention.

She’s got a casual, coy delivery style that makes it seem like she’s talking just to you. Being able to convey a sense of immediate intimacy is a real gift. Her observations – about looking prettier than her name, for instance, or why Lauren Sanchez (Google her) is her lord and saviour – are sharp and grounded, underscored with pragmatism and a touch of anger. 

Her longest joke concerns a non-proposal by her boyfriend, which then segues into a bizarre but beautifully observed story about following her fiancé to a bachelor party in Las Vegas. She’s self-aware enough to know that revealing certain personal details will change how we feel about her. 

Just when she’s running out of steam – the set could be maybe eight minutes shorter – she ends on a high note with a signature bit: she asks to go through a woman’s purse (with her consent) and comments on the contents.

Here, and in an earlier bit talking about extreme wedding planning details, Povitsky proves she’s as funny on her feet as she is in her proven material. No wonder Variety named her one of 10 Comics to Watch two years ago. She’s a natural. 

Povitsky performs again tonight (Saturday, September 21), 10 pm, at the Comedy Bar Cabaret Space, and tomorrow (Sunday, September 22), 7 pm, at the Garrison, and 10 pm, at the Comedy Bar Cabaret Space


Glenn started writing for NOW’s theatre section in 1997. Currently, he edits and contributes to the film and stage sections. He sees approximately 280 live stage shows and 150 movies a year. His mother once described his job as “Seeing The Lion King”

Read more by Glenn Sumi

September 21, 2019

6:44 PM