Walthamstow comedienne Daphna Baram takes her explosive act up to the Fringe, writes Lee Levitt

AKA MissD  Photo: Giada Garofalo

AKA MissD Photo: Giada Garofalo

First published in Interviews by

AT 37, Daphna Baram was diagnosed with diabetes, and at 39 she had a heart attack after working out at a north London fitness club. For her 40th, some friends bought her a stand-up comedy course at the Comedy School in Camden. 

“I felt I’d got a second chance, and I started gigging, and I never stopped,“ she says after her blackly humorous performance at the Edinburgh fringe. 

The Walthamstow-based Israeli comedian, journalist and former human rights lawyer, now 44, draws on her near-death experience in an unabashedly confessional show, laced with a caustic, warped humour.

Originally from Jerusalem, Daphna has what she terms a “dominatrix vibe“, and her earthy routine – which is part of La Favorita Freestival – is not for those of a delicate disposition. 

A self-lacerating riff on ageing and sexual rejection finds her trying to assume a foetal position in the bath, which is ruined when her stomach gets in the way (she is not petite); she shops for sexy lingerie in case a suicide bomber strikes; and her heart attack becomes an opportunity for her to experience druggie heaven in the ambulance ride to hospital, before they get “stingy“ on arrival. But the experience has a positive side. “Finally, you have something to put on Facebook.“ 

Of the chocolate-denying nightmare of diabetes, she recalls being told she would have to lose weight and to stop smoking. She focused initially on her weight, and says of her worrying Jewish mother: “I couldn’t have made her happier.“ 

The grand-daughter of Moshe Baram, who was Minister of Labour in the late Yitzhak Rabin’s first government as the prime minister of Israel, and the niece of Uzi Baram, who was Minister of Tourism and Minister of Internal Affairs in his second one, she describes herself as a “leftie, peace-loving person“. 

In her lawyering days, Baram represented Palestinians accused of security offences at military courts in the West Bank and Gaza, and she splatters her invective onto the Israeli army. 

Having apologised for her accent at the start of the show, and “for everything the country has been doing in the last few weeks“, and mentioned her time “sleeping with the enemy“, she says Israel does not have such a thing as summer-love. 

“In Israel, the main sentiment we generate in summer is hate. Every war Israel ever started was started in the summer – we are filled with hate then.“ As she readily acknowledges: “In Israel, I’m not very popular.“ 

Baram rattles along as if she can’t get some of her ideas out quickly enough - but for all its unvarnished feeling her material is candid and sincere, and packed full of incendiary humour.

AKA MissD, Cowgatehead, Edinburgh, Until Aug 16

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