Reviewed by Eilis Lee.
New York-based comedian and writer Emmy Blotnick’s Party Nights is maybe the first comedy show I’ve ever seen in two shipping containers that’ve been whacked together, and it’s definitely the best I might see for a long while. Tucked away just behind Bristo Square, Underbelly Buttercup may be slightly more intimate of a setting than many of the Fringe’s other venues, but Blotnick’s boisterous and very personal set goes big, taking the small but lively audience on an unfailingly funny ride through her life.
From her obsession with Amazon reviews (perhaps the ultimate cure for loneliness) to buying dodgy vitamins off the internet that probably do nothing and more, Party Nights unravels Blotnick’s attempts to deal with her neuroses and work on her mental health— and it’s great. Even at its maddest, the set’s always distinctly relatable: we’ve all sent late-night angry emails to corporations when we’ve had nothing else to do, although maybe not on the level of Blotnick’s incredible email to Dyson. We’ve all shared Blotnick’s desire to become absolutely “nothing,” too. Existential dread: a universal, and universally funny, experience that Party Nights addresses with a delightful slither of self-deprecation.
Blotnick’s personal material is fantastic, but she shines brightest when using it to delve into the mess that is pop culture. Her musings on confidence slide into an impression of Salma Hayek that brought wonderful tears to my eyes, and her recounting of a Beyoncé-themed dance class she once attended has the audience cackling. Some of my favourite moments come in the form of Blotnick’s reflections upon the absolute unit of a man that is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. I will never think of cod in the same way again.
It’s a real shame the audience wasn’t fuller – Blotnick is one of those people who is just naturally, hilariously funny. Though the show loses its momentum at points and a few moments fall a little flat, Blotnick manages to pull it back and deliver a small delight of a set that flies by. Party Nights deserves to be seen by more. Go find that shipping container; you won’t regret it.
Emmy Blotnick: Party Nights runs at Underbelly Buttercup at 7:55pm until 26th August.