Melissa Stephens is laying it all out for audiences to see, with nothing in her life off-limits. She is talking all about her childhood in the deep south of the US, her relationship with her parents and the struggles that came as a result of those relationships.
“Hot Dogs and Tears” is Melissa’s acknowledgement of her self proclaimed “white-trash” upbringing, and her attempts to purge herself of that part of her identity, even going as far as hiring a speech therapist. It’s also about the embarrassing stories she has to share from her life. But be warned audience members, she wants to hear some of yours too.
The style of the show works very well given her experiences, and the material is good. The only area in which this show is lacking is that it’s missing that spark that really gets big laughs from the audience. This could be for a number of different reasons, perhaps it is because a lot of the material is tied to American culture, and audiences struggle to relate to that. Nonetheless, it is a very solid show and the material is funny and engaging.
Melissa Stephens has some of the maddest stories you could hope to hear at the festival this year, and those stories are broken up with opportunities for her to tell audiences about some secret obsessions she has. If you thought that would be a break from the craziness, it’s not, but that’s what you want, really.
“Hot Dogs and Tears” is a funny show with about as many mental stories as you could pack into an hour-long show. Melissa Stephens is a bold comedian for sharing everything about her life, given the upsetting nature of some of her stories, and her comedic style shows that she has the potential to go far.
Melissa Stephens: Hot Dogs and Tears, 19:40, Assembly, August 18-27