Carey Marx: Careyness
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2008
In Careyness, Carey tries to get to the bottom of the rules of unacceptability and then he spanks that bottom until its cunt falls off.
Carey Marx seems to have an awful lot of people approach him after gigs to complain about his act. Almost every routine in this hour seems to involve him defending himself against some outraged punter – and once he embarks on his risqué material, you can understand why.
But thank God for these easily-offended folk, for without them Marx wouldn’t have been forced to ponder the most offensive subjects in comedy, and so come up with this thoughtful, hilarious and near-the-knuckle show.
He rates the trigger topics in a chart. The inflammatory subject of Islam makes a pitiful No 6; so you can imagine just how extreme he gets.
But Marx is no empty-headed shock comic, causing offence for offence’s sake. Here he intelligently argues his case for every sick topic, every taboo word, that features in his set. He’s thought about this stuff – a lot. It’s not just a ‘cunt’ joke, it’s a reversible double double entendre that mocks double entendres for not euphemising the offensive word. So stuff, that, critics.
This is a show about the power and beauty of language, as much as anything, though it just happens to be illustrated with some corking yet hardcore gags, too. And his jokes that initially seem borderline racist brilliantly subvert the audience’s expectations.
It is not just his cleverness and quick wit that gets him out of potential tight spots; he also has a cheeky, impish grin, like a young boy who’s just been caught doing something naughty – and has just come up with a smart-aleck argument for why it’s OK.
This, then, is Marx’s smart-aleck argument for why it’s OK to joke about death, paedophilia, recent mass deaths or even, at a push, drop the so-called N-bomb, Michael Richards style.
Good comedians, prudes often say, don’t have to swear to be funny. This is the convincing counter-argument.
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett