Watching Katrina Davis’ debut comedy special Figuring It Out feels like grabbing a drink and catching up with your funniest friend. Davis has been featured on TV (America’s Got Talent, Comedy Central) and, like most comedians in this day and age, also has a podcast (Podvant Garde, which covers art history). Regardless of if you know her or not, though, the Florida-raised comedian is sure to win over new fans during her set, which was directed under the careful eye of veteran comedy producer Brian Volk-Weiss.
Davis is engaging and enthusiastic right off the bat during her hour, which was filmed at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival. The LA-based performer recounts hilarious experiences and concocts ridiculous and evocative terms, like “sad timelapse lasagna” to describe how people are buried on top of each other in shared graves (an image that will continue to disturb me). Davis is relatable not because she’s catering to a common denominator, but because she comes across as so herself as she shares her own idiosyncratic world view. It’s just so fun to look at things from her perspective, whether she’s discussing numbers’ personalities, her obsession with chicken pot pies, or what it’s like to date as the product of cat calling. She also discusses topics that often are overlooked by comedians, namely the struggles of women with big boobs and how as someone related to those ladies you take on that concern yourself (acting as an emotional bra, one might say). Davis’ singular voice reels in the viewer during Figuring It Out.
Davis’ pacing is a little overzealous at the start of the set, especially considering how relatively cool the audience is, but as the special goes on she gets into the groove. A bit at the beginning about being from Florida feels over-rehearsed; what’s supposed to be a reaction to the audience comes across as the scripted joke that it really is. However, as she gets comfortable, you can see Davis listening to the (tough at times) crowd and calling out specific audience responses.
Part of Davis’ appeal is her easy cadence. Her set has a conversational rhythm, with You know what I mean?s or exaggerated facial expressions driving home certain punchlines. At other times, she goes for an understated, yet still effective, delivery, relishing in her vocal fry at the end of a joke. These highs and lows keep Davis’ comedy feeling natural and fresh.
Davis proves how funny and promising she is as a comic throughout her set. Her debut special is a solid hour of laughs that also endears us to Davis as a person. Here’s hoping we get to see more of her figuring things out.
Figuring It Out is available on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Dish, YouTube, and more.
Clare Martin is a cemetery enthusiast and Paste’s assistant comedy editor. Go harass her on Twitter @theclaremartin.