June 24, 2024

Fern Brady: Autistic Bikini Queen 2024 Movie Review

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Fern Brady: Autistic Bikini Queen 2024 Movie Review

Fern Brady has been a reliably funny booking both seen on British TV panel shows as well as heard on Radio 4, whose profile reached new heights in 2022 when she competed on the popular comedy competition, Taskmaster. She most recently also appeared on this season of Channel 4’s The Great Celebrity Bakeoff for SU2C.

Although she has multiple stand-up specials to her credit already, this may be Brady’s first proper introduction to American audiences, but Netflix is doubling down on this special by inviting her to perform in Los Angeles next month at the Netflix Is A Joke Festival. She already sold out her May 12 show, so a second gig was added for May 11.

In this hour, Brady jokes about how she already sees life differently in her mid-30s whose experiences as a single woman are nothing like the rom-coms promised for her in London.

Brady actually jokes that she initially worried what her audiences might think of her after she disclosed her autism diagnosis, but a friend assured her that they would’ve figured it out within minutes of her taking the stage, anyhow. When Brady recalls someone else trying to cheer her up by suggesting her autism is a superpower, she’s left to wonder how we might think differently about Superman if instead of his usual powers, he launched into lengthy monologues about Sylvia Plath to fight crime.

But it’s the real streets of London that worry her more. She says despite her onstage confidence, she’s a “frightened little goose” offstage, particularly when walking at night. Even after living in London for a decade, or perhaps because of it, she blames the “Richard Curtis Cinematic Universe” for presenting a false promise of London as a quirky rom-com through films such as Notting Hill and Love Actually, when the real city feels closer to The Muppets Christmas Carol.

Adding insult to imagined injury is society’s expectations about weddings. As she says: “I can’t imagine getting married anything other than sarcastically, or if Channel 4 paid me to do it for a twisted reality show.” But she does wonder if perhaps a civil partnership with her longtime boyfriend might at least keep her from leaving her fate in her father’s hands. And she’s also not exactly ready to start over by dating anyone else, imagining and comparing her seemingly boring sexual rituals with her boyfriend with all of the baggage that would come with dating someone new. Besides, she has a house and cats she loves, even if she hates the gifts she gets by people who think she might be a cat lady.

All of this ties into her notion that 36 is actually old. “This is a young person’s game,” she jokes, not specifying whether she means being a woman or being a woman in comedy. “You have to start accepting, as a woman, that certain things aren’t going to happen for you.”

So there are requisite bits about her face, body and lady bits sagging with age, and which parts she’s willing to let go of. But Brady also has keen perspective on what has changed for her in 15 years, reminding us (or revealing to new fans for the first time) that she used to dance as a stripper in Edinburgh in the mid-2000s. Which might’ve seemed shocking even five years ago. But as Brady explains, changing mores and the pandemic have prompted women in and out of comedy to go to much bolder lengths exposing themselves online via social media or OnlyFans. So talking about her past life as a lap dancer “is starting to seem like telling you I was a flapper dancer in the 1920s. Very quaint, innit?”

But flapper dancers in the 1920s might not have tales to tell like Brady’s about dancing for close or even distant relatives of a foreign dictator.

Either way, she has come to terms with the notion that “no one listens to me til I’ve got a mic in my hand,” and takes matters into her own hands with her closing routine to take control of her own narrative.

Fern Brady: Autistic Bikini Queen 2024 Movie Review