London Hughes: To Catch a D*ck review – swaggering hour of sex-comedy

·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian</span>
Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian

London Hughes was acting like a superstar when she was performing in a pokey attic on the Edinburgh fringe. Now the world catches up, as that show becomes a Netflix special – and she starts filming a Hollywood movie about her life. Perhaps that substantiates her claims in To Catch a D*ck about being “the new female Richard Pryor”. But it was funnier when she said it in the pokey attic – as was the whole show.

Related: London Hughes: 'There are no black female household names in the UK, bar Naomi Campbell'

What’s striking about this LA recording is that it’s performed outdoors, to a masked and distanced audience. These are inauspicious conditions for a Netflix debut, all the more so given To Catch a D*ck is first and foremost a raucous comedy party. The show about the tumult it creates in a room, is diluted when it’s performed to an insulated crowd and watched on a screen.

In Edinburgh Hughes was also exploiting, to great comic effect, the dissonance between her ego and flamboyance, and her lowly circumstances. There’s no such mismatch here, on a platform, and in a culture, where self-promotion comes as standard. There remain a few British jokes that might puzzle Americans. But US audiences are as apt as we are to enjoy Hughes’ lurid tales of her sexual history: the fling with the foot-fetishist, the stint presenting porn TV, the alarming encounter with a junkie banker.

You’ll be more surprised by Hughes’ sexual candour than her joke-writing (her girl-gang in Brighton “were like The A-Team, if A stood for anal”). The show is underscored by ardent equality and sex-positivity messages, as Hughes demands that “sitting on face [become] commonplace”. Fair play – but when Hughes tells us she secured 12 new pairs of shoes by “sucking the dick” of her sugar daddy, and solicits applause for the achievement, I can’t say my heart soared.

As a middle-aged man, I’m not the show’s target audience (Hughes even orchestrated some droll middle-aged man-baiting in the original show). That section is dropped for Netflix, and it’s not the only loss as this swaggering hour of sex comedy transfers to the screen.

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