Edward James

Edinburgh Fringe review: Carey Marx, Abominable

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Carey Marx is unique. Carey Marx is very comfortable with who he is. Carey Marx fills his own space in the standup underworld. Carey Marx is the friendly face of dark comedy.

For this year’s show Abominable, he has booked a small space at Canon’s Gait, performing as part of the Free Fringe. In a dark bar, well dressed with black drapes and with minimal PA and lighting, Carey walks out across the stage to switch his own music off, strides back to introduce himself from side-stage, and then walks back to the microphone as an already laughing audience applaud his entrance.

Marx launches directly into a routine about Snoop Dogg’s stage banter, where he repeatedly tells the audience to wave their hands in the air, and they oblige – belying rap’s anti-authoritarian image. There follows a flawlessly logical examination of the word “motherfucker”, and the material only gets darker from there.

Whilst everything is said with a caring smile and a spark in his eye, Marx asserts that he is not an emotional person. He relates to the time-tested image of the stiff upper lip of British men. Realising that this stereotype is a myth leads to a goldmine of material.

One thing sets Marx apart as he plows through sexism, racism, feminism, dwarfism, and every other-ism imaginable. When Marx addresses these issues, he is very aware of the fact that by discussing offence he often necessarily says offensive things. However Marx does it differently. Marx has clearly thought through every word, every simile, and every metaphor to ensure he is performing dark material – not offensive material.

When dealing with dark comedy it is so easy to focus on the material, and forget the form of the show. However, if anything, niche material makes the technical ability of a comedian much more important. Carey Marx has this ability in spades. His style is fluid, his shows always have sense, direction and purpose, and all the little tricks such as callbacks are so cleverly interweaved that if an audience misses the joke, he never feels the need to highlight them.

Abominable challenges not only the worldview of the audience, but Marx’s own worldview as well. Leave your preconceptions at the door, and enjoy the show.


Date of live review: 18 August 2014 @ Canon’s Gait

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