Laurie Kilmartin Does Dark Humor Right in Cis Woke Grief Slut

Laurie Kilmartin Does Dark Humor Right in Cis Woke Grief Slut

  • 4 weeks ago

Unfortunately the term “dark humor” has of late become synonymous with edgelord comedy that isn’t funny or incisive, but just meant to shock and offend. Think about pretty much any of Ricky Gervais’ recent specials, or Matt Rife’s, or Dave Chappelle’s, or… Jesus, I’m bored already.

Former Conan writer and Emmy nominee Laurie Kilmartin, on the other hand, understands the real nature of dark humor: laughing at the very worst things in life in order to try to make sense of them, and recognizing that to be human involves a lot of shared horror and strife. And in that case, what else are we meant to do other than laugh in the face of an unfeeling, chaotic universe? 

In her new special Cis Woke Grief Slut, Kilmartin has barbs about everything from 9/11 to dick pic ransom to the impending extinction of polar bears. Her jokes are well crafted and layered as she ponders the possibility of Boy Scout circumcision badges or an alternative explanation for how Ancient Greek myths actually came to be. Kilmartin’s inventiveness turns what could be easy, once-off bits into her own weird realities. These imaginative jokes are made all the funnier by the matter-of-fact way Kilmartin presents them. She’s clever and composed, and the contrast between her straightforward demeanor and the whimsical subject matter (e.g. thirsting over a centaur) is simply delightful. 

Throughout Cis Woke Grief Slut, Kilmartin keeps her crowd work to the minimum, but the bits involving the audience are well done—and she clearly has the room in the palm of her hand. I also must commend her for bravely calling out people who are too obsessed with their dogs. She’s a real one.

A handful of Kilmartin’s jokes feel like stuff we’ve heard before. She rightly criticizes formerly douchey men who become bare bones feminists (rape bad!) the minute they have a daughter, but doesn’t necessarily bring anything new to the table joke-wise. Her Karen bit also comes across as stale, and I found myself struggling to pay attention during it.

However, these are thankfully the exceptions to the main rule, which is that Kilmartin’s sharp sense of humor is sure to entertain. Her pandemic jokes are a highlight of Cis Woke Grief Slut, which is a sentence I never thought I’d type. The key to her success is the personal angle here; her mother died from COVID in 2020, and the way Kilmartin discusses what must have been a very difficult time is straight up hilarious. This is dark humor at its finest. 

Kilmartin isn’t trying to show us the light at the end of the tunnel in Cis Woke Grief Slut; instead, she’s drawing some lewd pictures on the tunnel’s walls, keeping us laughing as we fumble our way through gloom.

Cis Woke Grief Slut is available on January 30 via Comedy Dynamics. 

By Clare Martin  |  January 29, 2024 | 2:16pm

Clare Martin is a cemetery enthusiast and Paste’s assistant comedy editor. Go harass her on Twitter @theclaremartin.

Source: PASTE Magazine

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