The deeper the truths, the deeper the laughs: it’s a truism that applies especially so with David Heti’s new release, “It Was OK.” Not the set—the set is exceptional—but the experience of Heti’s life, of telling jokes he writes at 4am in a cloud of existential dread, well, that’s okay. Collective, social suffering and comedic catharsis? That’s okay, too. Heti’s truths cut close to the bone, hewing to the reality of life in all its complexity and madness. Exhibit A? A former lawyer with the Justice Department of Canada, Heti was actually “let go” by the federal government when it was determined that continuing his stand-up would constitute a conflict of interest. Ordered to cease and desist either the stage or the law, Heti (likened to a “darker Woody Allen,” which, given “Love and Death,” says a lot) refused to let anyone restrict his comedic voice. So, as he takes the stage, introduced as “slightly unstable” and “hobo-looking,” more cleric than comic—subversive, transgressive, impudent, philosophical—Heti is at home in the disquiet of uncertain, thoughtful laughter. Taking on the most untouchable subjects, he’s confident, sincere, and attentive as only a comedian, prosecutor, bioethicist, and professor could be.
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