Vancouver comic Darcy Michael's new stand-up special, One Skinny Bitch -- not quite a comedy DVD as it's available exclusively for download -- opens with our man locked outside of the venue. He bangs on the door, shivering in the cold. Michael sees himself as something of an outsider, and at first I couldn't understand why. Then, on stage, he began to explain. To say Darcy Michael is a guy with a few issues on his plate would be an understatement.
For starters, he recently slimmed down from 290 pounds. Not enough for ya? He is also an openly gay father with a 9-year-old daughter. Still not impressed? He also beat cancer. Satisfied? I knew that'd work.
Not to say that any of these issues unquestionably brands someone as an outsider. Quite the contrary. I imagine throngs of comics all over the world would kill to have lives as interesting, rich, and unique as Michael to draw material from. Luckily, Michael does just that, cleverly inviting us into his world and showing us around.
His openness is endearing and his energy on stage knows no bounds. Yet, he uses self-deprecation to mask his intelligence, uttering a slight nervous titter after nearly every joke. It's difficult to tell the difference between what is a genuine human nuance and what is carefully crafted comedic skill.
But, his reliance on the tried & tested notion that "smoking weed is hee-larious" eventually becomes fairly tiresome. Maybe he went back to that well one too many times. His best material comes when he speaks more honestly about himself: Raising his daughter, living the life of an overweight guy (formerly), and his homosexuality -- these are all aspects of his daily life and who he is. My point? Does anyone smoke enough weed for it to become a part of who they are?
You know what... Don't answer that question.
One Skinny Bitch has a lot of laughs and even more heart. It shows a vast improvement from his set on Comedy Now, which undoubtedly highlighted his talent, but not his honesty. I urge you to keep your eye on Darcy Michael, as he is one of the funniest up-and-coming comics in Canada.
Tony Hinds is a Canadian writer who studied film at the University of Winnipeg. In addition to ShowbizMonkeys.com, Tony has reviewed films for Step On Magazine and The Uniter. You can find Tony on Twitter.