Carey Marx: Hero Of The People | Review by Steve Bennett
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Carey Marx: Hero Of The People

Review by Steve Bennett

The Fringe’s constant quest for the new means that some great, established comedians get overlooked. Carey Marx would come close to the top of any such list, and in Hero Of The People he provides yet another hilarious masterclass in how to make it look easy, which every fresh-faced whippersnapper could learn from.

The show is nominally based on his reflections on turning 50; inherently offering deeper insight than the parades of boy-comics lamenting the end of their 20s. Marx says he’s not getting grumpier, just better-informed about how terrible life really is.

His landmark moment was spent alone in a hotel room in Melbourne, a whole planet between himself and his wife. So he indulged in fine wine, a potent spliff and a box of doughnuts for his solo birthday treat. This tale of befuddlement and shame provides a memorable coda to the show, but the journey is even funnier.

Marx is a comic who can get almost ten minutes on people who pronounce the letter H as ‘haitch’, starting from irritation at hearing a train announcer do it and ending with glorious silliness. He’s always got a sense of mischief, whether in his material or his actions out in the real world, and that works wonderfully here.

There’s a bit of a bump in the story of the flight that took him to Melbourne – what seems like a fanciful set-up turns out to be true, though he never quite convinces us – but once he’s in this world of the strange fauna, the badinage starts to zing again.

It might sound like a collection of anecdotes and rants, but there are also broader ideas underpinning the conversational stand-up. As a Generation Xer, he’s defined as cynical, rebellious, nonconformist – his reluctance to identify with a tribe being a definition of this tribe, in perfect Catch-22 logic. Marx says he doesn’t categorise himself by his Jewish heritage, for instance. Well, except that time he used it to try to get laid.

With people of his age, it seemed the world was moving to individualism, but the next generation actually turned out to even more tightly defined by the tribes to which they identify – thanks, social media.

This is the sort of philosophising that comedy reviewers find it easy to write about, but it’s a sideshow. Marx simply has a talent for telling fantastic stories, many of which display the reckless sense of a man half his age (the heart attack a few years ago slowing him only slightly), and he relates them all with sharp, cheeky jokes that tumble so briskly out you barely have time to catch your breath. No bells and whistles, just funny and plenty of it.

Review date: 28 Aug 2016
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Liquid Room Annexe

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