Mark Nelson: Please Think Responsibly
Star Rating: ***
Billiard Room. Gilded Balloon. Venue 14.
Thursday 7th August 2014
Daily until 25 August 2014. 20:45pm. £10 (£7.50)
Uncompromisingly hilarious new show from Scotland’s acclaimed multi award-winning comedy powerhouse. Star of BBC’s Don’t Drop the Baton, BBC radio’s Nelson’s Guide to Marriage and Telegraph’s Critic’s Choice. ‘Possesses a talent that’s simply obscene… Wonderfully crafted gags… his profanity is utterly charming’ (List). ‘Blistering material which pushes dangerously near the boundaries of good taste’ (Sunday Times). ‘Powerful punchlines hit the spot… Simple, blunt, but perfectly aimed barbs… devastatingly effective’ (Chortle.co.uk). ‘Rarely has someone managed to be so simultaneously offensive and likeable’ (Fest). ‘An unquestionably talented writer and performer… great jokes, and lots of them’ (Telegraph).
Figuring out life and one’s place and responsibility in the world seems to be a popular theme at the fringe. Citizen Dane Baptiste, Ruby Wax: Sane New World, Ola the Comedian and Tiffany Stevenson to name but four. A welcome addition to the list of soul searching Comedian’s is Scottish (Glasgow) Comedian Mark Nelson. The theme of his show was the burden of responsibility, at age 33, that comes with having a wife and children and the tension between these levels of responsibilities versus his former, if you like, responsible less self (not irresponsible).
It was an interesting subject covered with good humour via his routine and audience interactions with the likes of Brian (married, much older man), his wife and others present. You got a sense of the man-boy tensions he’s going through as he figures out eschewing his childish ways to being a responsible father. The show would have been even better if he’d interacted more deeply with Brian and co, rather than too often just referring to him/his wife, but not truly engaging with them on either a humorous or serious level.
I also think he needs to pay attention to audience dynamics more. He joked with a couple quite a bit, all good … until he made an excruciatingly crude joke regarding their sex life which crossed a line as they were sat next to his girlfriend’s mother and father. Awkward!!
Though you expect a certain amount of near the knuckle jokes at a live show sometimes its uncalled for and family dynamics should be accounted for, especially if you’re looking to build a following. Surely comedy can be both edgy and family entertainment too?
The same applies to the frequent swearing. It’s OTT, un-necessary and off putting to many people. There’s no reason this show shouldn’t be sold out for the whole fringe but when you alienate potential audience you restrict the likelihood of that outcome. That’s something many comedians, not just Mark, may wish to consider as I have a sense that there’s a perception out there that a lot of live comedy is profanity filled and not at all family friendly. This I suspect is putting off many from attending live comedy nights.
The topical material on the Scottish referendum and currency (old joke but good one .. will it still have currency (pun intended) though after the referendum?) went down well.
This was an hour well spent for Mark Nelson is a likeable, funny guy who ably holds your attention.
© Tiemo Talk of the Town
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