Delusions of Slander by Cobi Smith

By Colin Flaherty

Cobi Smith (Science Communicator and part time comedian) seems to think that the Adelaide Advertiser has it in for her. Growing up in the City of Churches, she has appeared many times in the paper and noticed some misrepresentation as part of the various projects she has been involved with. In Delusions of Slander, Smith presented us with evidence of this and asked us to decide whether she has a right to feel paranoid.

Smith showed a photo from the article in question and invited the audience to guess what the story was. The full article was then revealed and we were given some background and her beef/s with the content. These shortcomings included potential wardrobe malfunction, tokenism, misquotes and exclusion of important details. As a former Science Journalist, Smith admitted she knew the extent of the circumstances that were beyond her control and this made it less of a conspiracy plot than the advertising would suggest.

Humour came from the content of the presented articles more than her scripted lines. Banter with the audience regularly led to some amusing exchanges and we often laughed at how far off our guesses were. When put in the correct context, the text of the articles and accompanying photos had some bizarre WTF moments which were highlighted by Smith. Her twisted version of the Bechdel/Wallace test and the comparison of a photo to sci-fi characters were highlights but beyond that it wasn’t exactly wall to wall laughs.

An exuberant performer, Smith tended to rush her delivery, was easily distracted and prone to many asides, especially during her frequent exchanges with the audience. This show involved a lot of audience interaction and this was where she seemed most at ease. During the show she collected data with plans to implement a ‘Family Feud’ style game show in her weekend performances which sounds like a great addition to the show (I wish I’d seen this version than be one of her guinea pigs).

This was a pleasant hour in the company of a personable performer but it was more like a discussion about the portrayal of women in the media than a tightly written comedy show. A thought provoking and entertaining experience nonetheless.

Delusions of Slander is on at the Tuxedo Cat at 6pm until October 5