Carey Marx: Scoundrel

Carey Marx: Scoundrel
NZ International Comedy Festival

A pleasant surprise this evening: the offer of free tickets to this show, on a quiet night, to make up for the debacle of the previous show. Well, the previous show wasn’t a debacle, I just viewed it as an expensive learning experience I had no wish to repeat.

The contrast between the two shows couldn’t have been greater: Marx, a pudgy Englishman in his mid-forties, took to the stage in front of barely twenty people sitting at San Fran’s awkwardly-angled tables, and gave it his all for the entire hour. He was utterly professional and never less than compelling, a real storyteller.

The broad theme of this show is decrying the psychological manipulation involved in conjuring tricks, while presenting many entertaining demonstrations. Marx has the life experience to draw upon to tell an interesting tale – indeed, the first half of his act is an extended anecdote about a phoney seance he set up while working as a Bluecoat at a Pontins* holiday resort which resulted in the traumatised participants making life-changing decisions. He also utilised an interesting microphone technique where he removed it from the stand and looped it around his neck like a noose to leave his hands free.

The second half of his act was a mercilessly logical debunking of homeopathy and a rather bald challenge to God, so if parts of the evening were a bit uncomfortable, at least they were also intellectually interesting. It shows what a difference it makes to a comedy show when the presenter is confident and loquacious with something entertaining to say.

*The Avis to Butlin’s Hertz.

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