The Reel Review
Comedian and actress Yvonne Orji (HBO’s Insecure) takes to the stage in her first HBO comedy special, blending her standup act with footage of her family in their home country, Nigeria.
Orji offers up a humorous perspective on her dual cultures as a Nigerian-American – from her love of marketplace haggling and the inability of most Nigerians to give directions, to the challenges of dating and pressures from her immigrant parents to pick the right career and find a husband. The excerpts with those parents in Nigeria (they split their time between there and Laurel, Maryland) offers a unique and funny glimpse inside Orji’s world – and helps explains the wealth of source material for her standup act.
While Orji’s hour-long comedy special is predictable and doesn’t break any new ground, the charismatic Orji navigates the stage with ease and keeps her standup fun and lighthearted, offering plenty of chuckles that are much needed in today’s fractious times. Orji also proves she has the comic chops to tackle some leading roles. Hollywood, are you listening?
• Yvonne Orji caught the comedy bug after doing standup in the talent portion of a beauty pageant, while pursuing her graduate degree in public health at George Washington University.
• Although her character Molly Carter on HBO’s Insecure is sexually active, the 36-year-old Orji is a devout Christian, and says she plans to remain a virgin until marriage.
• In addition to her recurring role in Insecure, Orji had a small role in the 2019 Kevin Hart/Tiffany Haddish comedy Night School. Her next film is the sci-fi/fantasy film Spontaneous.