What has the mouth of a trucker and the face of a dollar-store Barbie? If you don’t know, then you clearly didn’t catch Carla Collins recently at The Flying Beaver Pubaret. It may seem a mean way of describing her, but not to worry: it’s mostly borrowed from her own brand of self-deprecating, brutally honest humour that had the packed room howling.
From the minute she takes the stage, we know we are in the presence of a seasoned pro, who might be just a little bit drunk. Her manic, waspy energy is charming and endearing, and it isn’t long before it is clear that (thankfully) she isn’t going to humiliate anyone in the audience. No, the only person Collins makes fun of is herself. Oh, and Rob Ford.
Which isn’t to say that the audience is safe. Inspired by spotting a man in the audience, Collins shares her love for black men, telling him all about her sex video with Kobe Bryant and celebrating how great she looks on tape: “Black is so slimming!”
As the crowd groans, Collins maintains a perpetual look of “Oh you think that’s dirty?“ There’s something so satisfying about such filth coming out of such a polished and shiny-looking person. It’s a bit like watching drag-queen source material. A stomach-churning comment about Rob Ford and oral sex must be delivered with the proper palatable mix, and she has it. Collins is equal parts glam, camp and dirty sex jokes.
Given her general persona, it is no surprise that she has a considerable gay following. In fact, an attempt to do a joke that required a straight couple revealed that there wasn’t a single one in attendance. While straight (though self-described as “gay adjacent“), Collins knows how to work the room, making cracks about the names of gay bars, golden showers, Newfie foreskin and the It Gets Better campaign. In her own words, she really does seem “a hat choice away from being a gay guy.”
The time flies by, and it is disappointing when it comes time for the countdown. The night is a flurry of one-liners, sharp impersonations, rapid-fire antics and raunchy wisecracks. Quite simply, Carla Collins is not to be missed. Some have heralded her as the Tina Fey of Canada, but I don’t think that quite nails it. She’s the Tina Fey of Canada, if Tina Fey had some work done, did a bump, evened out with a couple Xanax, then tried to make a drag queen blush.
There’s a bit of something for everyone here. And frankly, if you don’t like it, you’re probably a bit of an asshole.