Hilary Wardle

Edinburgh Fringe review: Martin Mor, [kuh-MEE-dee-uhn]

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Gigantic, beardy Northern Irishman Martin Mor looks more like a circus strongman than a comedian, which is perhaps down to the fact he is one. He used to perform in the big top and still offers family circus shows under the name Martin Bigpig.

It’s possible that his hard-earned circus skills help him manage his rambunctious audience. Lions have got nothing on a group of excitable young blonde women from Fife, and they’re out in force tonight. The Friday night crowd crammed into this sweltering hotel basement venue are several shots in, fired up and ready to party despite the stifling heat.

The boozy, fun loving audience offer a bit of a clue to Martin’s material. He’s scatological, crude and unashamedly rude – and the crowd love it. This year, Mor has decided not to hang his show on a theme. Instead, he’s offering a bespoke performance: a show crafted around the audience.

Depending on the roll of his trusty dice, the punters he picks on either get to ask him a question or they’re asked one themselves. This is a great idea in principle, but given the mildly trollied state of some of the audience members (come on guys, it’s only 8pm), occasionally you feel he’d have been better off trying to sieve jokes out of the air with his mighty beard.

That isn’t to say the results aren’t funny – they frequently are – but it’s a bit hit or miss at times. Thankfully, Mor can do a lot with very little to go on and he rides the wave of silly questions and responses like the professional he clearly is. A lot of his act revolves around being deeply, hilariously abusive to the people in his direct line of sight, but there’s a twinkle in his eye that softens the blow and you really can’t help but laugh.

Some of his jokes – particularly anything to do with sex, bum sweat, cleavage or how gay the guy on the front low looks (answer: very) – occasionally hit a bit below the belt.

They’re crude without being particularly witty, but he pulls it back with some genuinely well done off the cuff jokes and a really entertaining gag about Rolf Harris that you’d have to be dead in a ditch – or possibly sharing a bunk with him in prison – not to find funny. Even his insults are too well crafted to cause genuine offence. Well, more or less.

Presumably he doesn’t regale the audience at his family circus shows with tales of how he shagged a (quite literally) damaged woman after one of his gigs, or cover their money in ball sweat, but if not they’re missing out as it is extremely entertaining.

If you like uproarious, occasionally intimidating comedy and can’t get a ticket for Red Bastard, then Martin Mor- [kuh-MEE-dee-uhn] is definitely the show for you.


Date of live review: 8 August 2014 @ The Stand Comedy Club

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