I never thought I’d have to call an audience obstinate, but the audience I was in for Walk of Shame probably fits. So many times a joke absolutely should have landed, but never even got airborne because it seemed like people were flat refusing to laugh. I certainly found myself laughing more than the majority. Maybe the sense of humour didn’t gel quite as well with the crowd as it did me, but whatever the cause, the result was a negative feedback loop affecting the quality of the whole show.
Walk of Shame is a short chronicle of Eleanor Conway’s more extreme lifestyle choices throughout her 20’s, her past penchant for drugs and alcohol, and her addictive personality. It’s also startlingly frank, honest, and vulnerable, and the candid way Conway discusses parts of her life others might hesitate to explore is admirable.
The easily offended certainly aren’t going to find much to like. Her sense of humour is trashy and dark, which was probably party to the tepid reception from the crowd. She’s open, and funny, about taking coke, drinking, and maintaining a serious sexting habit. There’s even a few more traditional jokes peppered throughout the storytelling that hit just the right side of groaner. It’s refreshing, fun stuff, but momentum dropped a lot when things seemed to be going poorly.
While the content of the jokes is solid, there certainly was a lot of awkward delivery that sold them short. Again, I got the sense that much of the unease stemmed from an unfairly tough room, who as mentioned just seemed unwilling to get on board. This, in truth, was Walk of Shame’s biggest issue, and had Conway gotten the crowd onside in the early stages, it’s easy to see how she could have relaxed into the rhythm and had a more successful show.
It’s not easy for a comedian to keep composure when their show seems at odds with the taste of the audience, as seemed the case here, and I’m very willing to give Conway the benefit of the doubt on this one, given how many laughs I found. It’s not an amazing show any day of the week, but I think a funny, likeable one that ought to have been better received, and would have been a lot funnier for it.
I’d love to be kinder, I do think that Conway is more than capable of better work, and for all the excuses I’ll happily make for Walk of Shame, in the end I can’t talk about a version of the show I didn’t see. Bottom line is, despite all that, I suspect there is a better version than I saw and I’d recommend taking a chance on it.