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Genuine comedy: Annick Adelle’s ‘Between Two Worlds’

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Genuine comedy: Annick Adelle’s ‘Between Two Worlds’ (Photo by Virginia Schultheis)

Everyone knows that certain person who can’t help but be funny; that friend who lives to make you laugh. Comedian Annick Adelle says she’s always loved being that person, so much so she turned her life upside down to follow her dream.

Adelle’s stand-up comedy debut “Between Two Worlds” (Blonde Medicine) is just out. It’s a brave, bold and wildly funny in-the-moment set that could never be repeated in quite the same way. She’s a gifted comic with a penchant for improv and audience interaction.

Only a few years ago Adelle was clocking mega hours as a corporate attorney for a big-name bay-area tech firm when she challenged herself during a month-long vacation to try two things that in her words “scared the hell out of me.” The first was expressive dance, which she says still scares her.

Her second experiment was to try stand-up comedy. She was hooked immediately, she says. “I realized I needed to do this in any way, shape or form that I could.”

“Between Two Worlds” accurately describes several aspects of Adelle’s life. Raised in Germany, she moved to the U.S. in 2014 and currently lives between New York and Berlin.

She’d practiced law privately and in a corporate environment. It certainly paid the bills but in the back of her mind, the lure of laughter called, she says.

“You can ask any comedian, I guess, and they’ll tell you that making people laugh is what we do all the time. I knew I loved doing that at every party, with every conversation I had, with every date.”

Adelle riffs about being a comedian from Germany and the notable differences between German and American comedy audiences. She shares inside stories about the occasional absurdities endured by employees in a corporate environment. And she shines when audience-influenced tangents lead to some very surprising moments.

The title “Between Two Worlds” also refers to the fact that Adelle is living on the spectrum between male and female. She addresses that fact up front on the album.

“Some of you are like ‘Oh my God, a female comedian is headlining, that’s amazing.’ And then some of you are like ‘But is it? We’re not sure.’ I’m not sure either so we’re gonna roll with it, OK?” Adelle says to the crowd.

Adelle doesn’t get hung up on pronouns, but her experience prompts her to sometimes wonder about gender in general.

“What is gender?” Adelle asks rhetorically during the interview. “Starting my gender journey and adapting more to what I feel inside with the outside has led to me learning more about the masculine experience. How it feels to be a man, whatever that means, in this world. I have a little more testosterone in my blood, but that’s it. I’m the same person. It’s all fascinating to me.”

Some of the funniest moments on “Between Two Worlds” come from the interactions with her Fargo, North Dakota audience, one that had no idea the set was being recorded for release until show’s end.

Adelle wanted every reaction captured in the set to be a genuine one. If the audience knew they were being recorded, they may have been on guard or feel the need to laugh louder or not at all, she reasoned.

“To me stand-up comedy is this magical moment that you create with the crowd and I didn’t want any chance of that getting lost,” Adelle says. “That’s why we didn’t tell them until the end when we asked for their consent to be included.”

Her colorful Fargo audience provided a number of call-backs for Adelle that she deftly weaved into a hilarious recap send-up that she says came to her “one second before it happened.”

“That’s my comedy – in the moment with the people with whatever unfolds,” she says.

Adelle is in preparations to shoot a special for Comedy Central this fall.

(Annick Adelle’s “Between Two Worlds” is available on all digital streaming platforms.)

Last modified on Wednesday, 17 August 2022 10:36


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