If ever there was a way to end dry January - the very noble mission of abstaining from alcohol for the month of January - it was at Joanne McNally's "Prosecco Express" show.
It felt like every Irish woman in New York City was at one of McNally's "Prosecco Express" shows at the Town Hall theater on Friday, February 3, and Saturday, February 4.
It also felt like every Irish woman in New York City who was at one of McNally's "Prosecco Express" shows was celebrating the end of dry January. In fact, McNally's Saturday night set was slightly delayed as people waited in long lines to purchase a sup.
Thanks to the long lines and eye-watering prices ($47 for a bottle of Corona and a 'medium' size wine), my single beer had to suffice for the evening.
However, this means I can soberly say: McNally's "Prosecco Express" was one of the most fun events I've attended in a long time.
Admittedly I didn’t know much about McNally ahead of the show other than she was an Irish female comedian, but I gladly accepted the press passes and got my Irish born-and-bred fiancé to come along.
I noticed on Friday evening, the night before I attended McNally’s show, that my social media feeds were abuzz with snaps of girlos all dressed up and heading down to the city to see "Prosecco Express."
My fiancé happened to notice the same thing, and nervously asked me on Saturday, “Uh, is it going to be an all girls thing tonight?”
I shrugged - I wasn’t sure, to be honest. Any which way, it was a night down in the city, we’d make it fun even if the show was a bust.
The show was not a bust. McNally, decked out in a leopard jumpsuit, white sneakers, and gold hoop earrings, delivered a riotous set that hinged on Irish humor with an admirably well-paced level of energy.
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After placing her canned cocktail on a stool on the stage, McNally took the audience in and, hilariously, summed up the Irish community in New York City as the “Fenian human centipede.”
McNally set the tone of her show by shouting out the people in the upper level of the theater - “I love a balcony bitch” - before turning her sights to “one of the seven straight males” in attendance at the show, a bald man in the front few rows she quickly christened “Daddy.”
Early in her set, McNally explained that the “Prosecco Express” is what she dubbed her experience as a 30-something single woman in Ireland who had big events celebrating other people almost every weekend, from communions to weddings to the birthday party for her mother she couldn’t get her toxic ex to come to.
Let’s be honest - female comedians doing material about being single and childless isn’t anything new. Chelsea Handler has made quite a career out of it. Despite this, I didn’t find myself bored with McNally’s set even a little bit.
Neither did my Irish fiancé, who was laughing the entire time as well. Yes, McNally does “female” material, but she equally does Irish material, and she does both well.
Have you ever tried microwaved wine? McNally has, but she opts for red wine after designating white wine as “bitch diesel.” She took to microwaving wine when she was living in her mother’s attic in Dublin during COVID after breaking up with another toxic ex who she found out, to her surprise, she had been in a “polyamorous relationship” with.
McNally’s time in her mother’s attic was a period of deep reflection that included, aside from microwaved wine, lots of adult coloring books, bunches of sage, and her mother’s laments that she doesn’t have a house nor a pension. It sounds like it might have been depressing, but it made for some damn good comedy, and the audience, including myself, ate it all up.
McNally's heading back home to Dublin for more of her "Prosseco Express" shows, as well as shows for the hugely popular podcast she cohosts with Vogue Williams, "My Therapist Ghosted Me."
After her Irish shows, she's off to Australia, New Zealand, and Dubai before returning stateside in May for shows in Boston and Chicago where she's sure to receive another warm Irish American welcome.
You can learn more about Joanne McNally on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.