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Carey Marx: The Doom Gloom Boom – Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Steve Bennett

Carey Marx brings to mind an old-fashioned comic-book schoolboy. The sort of slightly naughty mischief who, after being caught using his catapult to scrump apples from the tress in the local orchard, would put on his most innocent doe-eyed look and shrug from beneath his cutely lopsided school cap that it wasn’t him. Only instead of scrumping apples, Marx cracks gags about buggering cows or the proper usage of the c-word.

But that way of softening the unpleasant is the only gimmick in an uncomplicated hour of spiky routines about topical issues, matching gags to political points.

You can see an intellectual obsession with crafting the perfect joke at work; as Carey is clearly fascinated by their form. He even manages to get a new twist on the ‘waiter, waiter, there’s a fly in my soup’ feedline, though the image that leads us here is hardly salubrious. Such a mechanical approach does mean the show’s soul is elusive, but the laughs never are, as Marx is clearly a top-drawer writer, combining intelligent comment with teasingly edgy wit.

The theory around which this all hangs is that a bit of recession might be good for us, to lessen the drive to acquire more and more things the planet can’t provide. Then, via the almost obligatory Susan Boyle routine, he moves on to clearly heartfelt material about the increasing erosion of our liberties through such authoritarian moves as ID cards or email snooping, all under the dubious excuse of ‘preventing terrorism’. Preventing you putting your plastics in your glass recycling bag, more like.

But it’s not all so campaigning. He’s as obsessed with what he charmingly calls ‘bum sex’ as he is with issues, which means the hour moves with seamless ease from the puerile to the political, from the whimsical to the sick, and always with cheeky charm and powerful punchlines.

Review date: 18 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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