British comedian/author David Baddiel‘s smash hit comedy, My Family: Not the Sitcom, is having its North American debut at Just for Laughs OFF-JFL, from July 20 to 29. The Olivier nominated one-man show enjoyed two extended runs at London’s West End, with rave reviews and glowing support from J. K. Rowling, Russell Brand and Ricky Gervais, among others. The offbeat comedy about Baddiel’s relationship with his parents, Sarah and Colin, is painfully intimate, hilariously funny and surprisingly relatable.
With the aid of video clips, photographs, emails and social media, Baddiel tells the story of Sarah’s death, two years ago, and how the unearthing of her not-so-secret double life was the catalyst for his own self-discovery. Along with Sarah’s passing, Baddiel also struggles to reconcile with curmudgeonly Colin, who’s now in an advanced state of dementia.
Baddiel is a natural storyteller, the author of several novels for adults and for children. Soothingly, he leads the audience down the path of his disclosures, one at a time, with buoyant charm and plenty of broad humour around the roughest bits. Baddiel’s journey, like so many who’ve lost a loved one, has been one of an archaeologist. Sifting through the stockpile of his mother’s memorabilia, he hunts for evidence, tidbits of history to help him fill in the missing pieces of his family—and of himself. It’s an astounding story, but so much less so, when the context of his parents’ bizarre life choices are finally revealed.
My Family: Not the Sitcom is a far from typical evening of comedy. Ultimately, it is so much more. Baddiel’s willingness to lay bare his family’s most taboo secrets gives us permission to confront our own. Playfully, he nudges audience members to re-examine their own family trees—and give them a good hard shake.
David Baddiel My Family: Not the Sitcom
July 20 to 23, 7:00 p.m. Theatre Ste. Catherine
July 24 to 29, 6:30 p.m. La Chapelle
Tickets: $20.87 to $23.48