Jenny Slate: Stage Fright delves into adulthood, childhood and anxiety, as the comedian lands her first stand-up special well.
Netflix Special Jenny Slate: Stage Fright was released on Netflix on October 22, 2019.
Quirky. Different. Enticing.
Those are the three words I’d use to describe Jenny Slate in her first stand-up special Stage Fright. As someone who is mostly unaware of her work, barring a few films, my exposure to the comedian was a positive one, met with a smile. Jenny has this habit to nervously build up a joke, laughing at herself, laughing with the audience with infectious charm before landing the punchline out of nowhere.
Jenny Slate: Stage Fright is more than just a 60-minute stand-up; it is also part-documentary. Between each joke, Jenny introduces us to her childhood home, enjoying conversations with her family and explaining her upbringing. There’s a sense of real personal intimacy as she shares video footage of when she was a child. She was destined for entertainment.
Jenny covers plenty of topics, including her divorce and her experience of going through such a process, but the most surprising, and the suitable moment came when she describes how she has stage fright.
It’s surprising how someone who appears as confident as Jenny Slate feels somewhat crippled by anxiety. But it makes sense. In my world, I get anxious for every social meet up, meeting, presentation, date or any event that involves people — yet I still do it. Anxiety can form as a character in one’s head, and develop into a monster — you have to put it on trial. Jenny’s experiences, to use her anxiety as a base before walking on stage is admirable — she’s made it into a strength.
Jenny Slate: Stage Fright balances the comedian’s stories about her adulthood with the documentary element that delves into her childhood. Both elements serve as a great antidote to each other and allow the audience to understand her better. The Netflix special is certainly not the best or most impactful 60-minute stand-up to grace the thumbnails, but it’s certainly got its heart in the right place.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.