If you don’t know who London Hughes is now, that won’t last long. And we’re not just talking about her Netflix special To Catch A D*ck, during which we get well acquainted with her dating exploits and the story behind her unusually long name (London Dionne Micha Stacey Stephanie Estina Knibbs-Hughes, say it 10 times fast). The English comedian is set to appear on the pop culture roundtable show The Netflix Afterparty with Fortune Feimster and David Spade in the new year, and watching their debut episode “The Best Shows of the Worst Year,” it’s clear that Hughes will be the pep powerhouse of the three. According to Variety, she is also working with comedy legend Larry Wilmore on a pilot for NBC. All this to say, Hughes is news.
Her first-ever Netflix stand up set To Catch A D*ck does exactly what it says on the tin, as Hughes regales us with hilarious and outrageous tales about coming into her own ho-dom. The content itself, such as her manifesto about sitting on faces, isn’t exactly the groundbreaking credo she makes it out to be. These sex-positive stories may have caused a stir in the early 2010s (think Amy Schumer), but are almost expected nowadays.
That’s not to say Hughes misses the comedic mark. Her storytelling style slaps a fresh coat of paint on familiar avenues, as she takes us back all the way to her grandmother’s relationship history to explain the origins of her own dick-catching adventures. She guides us on a journey from past to present, inviting us in on the revelations she’s had along the way. The overall narrative she weaves may not be the most tightly constructed, but it gives us a clear idea of Hughes the person as well as the performer. Her bits are made all the better by the singing and dancing she integrates enthusiastically into the set, making one-liners into playful chants. By the time the special ends, she collapses onto the stage, and it’s well deserved. She put her all into it.
The real draw here, though, is Hughes herself. Charisma doesn’t even begin to describe how magnetic and electrifying her presence is. The opening skit before the special starts shows her basking in Meg Stalter-like overconfidence, and she regularly brings that same energy throughout the special as she declares herself “Comedy Beyonce” and “The Female Richard Pryor.” She’s one of those rare people who seems to have been born with a mic in hand.
Hughes’ first Netflix special is by no means perfect, but her introduction to American audiences is unforgettable. Whatever we see her in next, Hughes will use everything at her disposal to make it worth tuning in.
Clare Martin is a cemetery enthusiast, hibernophile and contributing writer for Paste’s music and comedy sections. She also exercises her love for reality TV at HelloGiggles every now and then. Go harass her on Twitter @theclaremartin.