★★★★ “This is a brilliant, deeply personal performance… A brush with death really shouldn’t be this funny” THE SCOTSMAN
★★★★ “Sharp, sweet, cheeky, cynical, romantic and rude as he ever was. Rarely is cardiac failure this funny” CHORTLE
★★★★ “The blackly comic, deeply personal story about his brush with mortality had provided Marx with material which perfectly suits his line in smart, shocking humour” THE LIST
★★★★ “Comedy at its best” FEST MAG
★★★★ “Thoughtful, shocking and hilarious” THE SKINNY
★★★★ “Obscenely funny… hilarious and curiously intelligent” INFORMED EDINBURGH
★★★★ “This show is a reminder of what a truly fantastic comic he is” LONDON IS FUNNY
★★★★ “As usual, Marx’s style of dark humour punctuated with his mischievous grin captivates his audience from the outset” ONE4REVIEW
THE GUARDIAN PICK OF THE DAY
The top 10 most offensive subjects in comedy tested by the knife-edged standup.
Edinburgh comedy stalwarts the Stand have a couple of new venues this year over the road on York Place, and Carey Marx’s new show ‘Careyness’ take place in the more intimate Stand 4, or the comedy conference room as Marx refers to it.
The theme of the show is to explore subjects comedy audiences feel uncomfortable with, ending with a run down of a top ten of offensiveness. This is both a risky and sensible strategy. Risky because, as he notes, it involves dropping ‘the bombs’ that silence the crowd. Sensible because he has created the space to talk about these off limits subjects. And inevitably it’s a strategy that will only work if he keeps the laughs coming thick and fast – and they certainly do.
His delivery is assured, and it has to be when dealing with this subject matter. In part he gets away with it because he seems so affable. Talking about his friends Jeremy and Patricia makes you imagine that you’re also one of his pals, and he’s explaining all this just for own benefit – and the cosy venue adds to this effect. His slick, twisted logic that sees him take his own arguments and turn them on their head, making you question your own assumptions. I particularly liked his rubbishing of the ‘you have to be one to make fun of one’ attitude that says that only midgets (to quote his example) can make fun of midgets.
I was going to say that this not a show for the easily offended, but on reflection I think it might be just the thing. By taking us on a journey around what causes offence, he makes the audience understand a little more. Whether that would stop him getting complaints about gags involving onions or the use of the ‘c’ word remains to be seen.
Carey Marx seems to have an awful lot of people approach him after gigs to complain about his act. Almost every routine in this hour seems to involve him defending himself against some outraged punter – and once he embarks on his risqué material, you can understand why.
But thank God for these easily-offended folk, for without them Marx wouldn’t have been forced to ponder the most offensive subjects in comedy, and so come up with this thoughtful, hilarious and near-the- knuckle show.
He rates the trigger topics in a chart. The inflammatory subject of Islam makes a pitiful No 6; so you can imagine just how extreme he gets. But Marx is no empty-headed shock comic, causing offence for offence’s sake. Here he intelligently argues his case for every sick topic, every taboo word, that features in his set. He’s thought about this stuff – a lot. It’s not just a ‘cunt’ joke, it’s a reversible double double entendre that mocks double entendres for not euphemising the offensive word. So stuff, that, critics.
This is a show about the power and beauty of language, as much as anything, though it just happens to be illustrated with some corking yet hardcore gags, too. And his jokes that initially seem borderline racist brilliantly subvert the audience’s expectations.
It is not just his cleverness and quick wit that gets him out of potential tight spots; he also has a cheeky, impish grin, like a young boy who’s just been caught doing something naughty – and has just come up with a smart-aleck argument for why it’s OK.
This, then, is Marx’s smart-aleck argument for why it’s OK to joke about death, paedophilia, recent mass deaths or even, at a push, drop the so-called N-bomb, Michael Richards style.
Good comedians, prudes often say, don’t have to swear to be funny. This is the convincing counter-argument.
Carey Marx - Careyness, The Stand
Are there any taboos left in comedy? Marx dismantles them one by one in a brilliantly controlled countdown of stand-up's least acceptable topics, from misogyny - in with a bullet at number nine - to the chart-topping N-word, the ultimate comedy no-no.
The way he walks the line with that one is quite exquisitely balanced, asking the audience why he would be clutching his book all the tighter to his chest while walking through Brixton. It is not for fear of being mugged, as a typically Marxist twist unfolds.
At number four, he has the best material about paedophiles since Ed Byrne remarked how awful it must be for them at Halloween, when children come to their door and actually ask for sweets. Just lagging behind at five is the C word, the cue for a debunking of the good comedians don't have to swear; myth - but Carey does so with a rare insight and intelligence.
His love of language is evident throughout and an analytical gift which extends beyond mere observation. The Sun newspaper, he contends, not only tells us a story, but also how we should feel about it. And we discover with indefatigable logic why, when a child tells a parent in public, I need a poo, it means, in fact, they've already done a poo.
This is comedy of the most cerebral variety, material capable of provoking both thought and laughter, well-paced and decisively delivered.
Carey Marx has been accused of misogyny in his stand-up routines, but flatly denies it. “I’m a great fan of women,” he insists, “in fact, I own one!” In 2008 there are few comedians who could deliver a line like that and receive, in return, a round of applause from an entire audience – male and female alike. Especially when it’s by far the cleanest joke in his tight one-hour set.
But few comedians put as much consideration into their routines as Marx clearly has. At a glance he might look like one of the horde of immature (usually male) comics who trade in shock value gags about ‘hilarious’ subjects like rape and disability. But, despite the mischievous twinkle that appears in the 42 year-old’s eye each time he drops another pitch-black one-liner that pushes the boundaries of taste well beyond their limits, Careyness is actually an incredibly thoughtful show.
Most of the time Marx does not so much deliver his jokes as unravel them, and it takes a while to realise that this show, above all, is about the power of language. Once he hits his stride, Marx proceeds to follow each expertly-crafted gag with an astute examination of why it offends, and why it amuses.
What stops this becoming a lecture on the importance of free speech, of course, are the jokes – jokes which come at an astonishing rate, and rarely miss their mark. Shows like this are often described as not being suitable for the easily offended, but as the debate over misogyny and racism in comedy rears its ugly head once again, Careyness starts to look like essential viewing.
Carey Marx: Careyness
by AMANDA TRICKETT - Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Carey Marx opens his latest Fringe show, Careyness, with a couple of lines about paralysed girlfriends and burns victims "sticking together". If this introduction had some audience members wriggling in their seats, they were positively squirming by the end of the hour, during which he talks us through his Top Ten list of the most offensive things in comedy.
Yet Marx is way beyond using shock tactics to get a laugh. His jokes may be at the blue end of the spectrum but they're clever, and he uses intelligent wordplay to raise a giggle and also get you thinking. By counting down his list of taboo comedy subjects he explores how far the boundaries of joke-telling can be pushed, and whether some subjects are totally off- limits or if only certain sections of society are allowed to crack these kind of gags.
It's a skill to make a whole room guffaw to stories about suicide, disability and mass death, and Marx pulls the task off effortlessly, aided by his cheeky grin and passion for words. There are some truly joyous moments in his set: both when he's diving head-first in the darkest realms of comedy, and when he lightens the tone. Marx does surrealism just as well as controversy, and his insane comments about chopping onions actually bring tears to the eyes.
Carey Marx ponders comedy’s taboo words and topics in this sophisticated and intelligent stand-up set. He compiles a list of the top ten subjects likely to cause offence and proceeds to make jokes about most of them. In a way, he’s testing his theory that words themselves aren’t the problem, but the way they’re used.
From Islam to paedophilia, Marx weighs up what you can and can’t say. He more than convinces you that the world would be a much duller place if we all kowtowed to the complainers and censors. His analysis of one joke’s double double entendres shows his technique of telling jokes and revealing how they work without killing the humour.
Marx has a way of deconstructing language’s absurdities which is brainy and funny at the same time. He lampoons people who use language sloppily, such as pious tabloid editors piling up the inflammatory adjectives in headlines.
Marx tells us he cares about words, and he more than proves that you can make hilarious comedy that is thought provoking and conscious of both its freedoms and its responsibilities.
Review by William McEvoy
Carey Marx needs some comedy leeway
by MICHAELA NOONAN - Thursday, June 19, 2008
Carey Marx is about to give leeway some leeway. What might sound like nonsense fits in perfectly with Marx's forthcoming, and fifth, Edinburgh show, Careyness. A brilliant comic with a deliciously dark mind, Marx is questioning why certain topics ('rape, child murder') are considered taboo when it comes to cracking gags and believes - vociferously - that comedians should be given freedom to tackle areas
that are topics of conversation or newspaper fodder. The danger in Marx's approach is that he might take things too far. He's joyfully aware of this - hence his leeway excitement.
"It started with a complaint I had in Glasgow, which is unusual as it's a place where c**t is people's first word," explains Marx, neatly summarising his distaste for censorship. "This woman told me I was evil. That was her opinion and it got me thinking about what jokes are "evil"'. Marx further extrapolated that the jokes he tells are an essence of him; as a result,
Careyness is his thoughts on what makes Carey Marx so very Carey Marx and whether or not he's evil. That remains undecided for now, but he sure is funny.
Careyness is back for its second New Zealand International Comedy Festival – by popular demand. Before I go any further it is worth noting that this show ended with the first, ever, encore performance I have ever seen at live stand-up comedy. This may be saying more about my show-going inexperience than about the performance itself but there is something rather unequivocal about people yelling, “more, more, more!” when the comic has departed from the stage.
Carey Marx delivers a veritable Ready to Roll of Oh-No- He-Didn’ts as he takes us on a journey both through the top 10 most taboo subjects that a Comedian can ever broach on stage as well as through his career as a stand-up performer.
The very essential key to this show, that sets it apart from other shows which could be deemed offensive, is that Carey Marx endears himself to the audience from the beginning; he genuinely seems like a really nice guy. He is our guide as he shares with us the subjects that if talked about in a comedy set will get complaints and ultimately make an entire room go silent.
This happens at least twice.
Yet, although he illustrates each section with jokes of his own creation and although he gives us that sideways look that I suppose could be interpreted as, “I’ve been bad, haven’t I?” it is so equally disarming that no one gets a chance to be offended before patters of laughter turn into waves.
This is Carey’s take on offensiveness and it never goes too far. The show takes you to the brink and you may even gasp with shock when you think it might have reached the point where it could really go over the line but then, somehow, it doesn’t happen.
The key difference with people who get up on a stage and genuinely offend is the intent and the context. In this case Carey’s intent is to make us laugh and the context is more like a cheeky lecture than anything else. He has just done some research – some very, very funny research – on what shocks people and he is presenting it to us like a good, kind friend would.
Again, first encore performance I have ever seen and what he provides here is lighter and more personal, showcasing just a little more of the versatility that has built his popularity here and which highly recommends his additional brand-new show to this year’s festival: Doom Gloom Boom.
Careyness is truly a must-see.
In his show debonair British comedian Carey Marx goes through the list of the ten most offensive topics in comedy…and completely gets away with it. He has a cheeky gleam in his eye, a casual raising of his eyebrow that somehow makes it seem perfectly okay to talk about rape and pedophilia. For a man who talks about suffocating his mother by sticking an onion down her throat, he knows how to charm an audience. The list of ten things is quite offensive, but he has something interesting to say about each and he doesn’t succumb to reveling in the shock value. He’s able to twist things well and he is successful in showing up our own prejudices by playing against our expectations. He is filthy, he is naughty, and he is very funny. And wait till you hear his double double-entendre gag about his paralyzed fiancé!
- James Wenley
The Scotsman 4 Stars
Carey Marx expertly structures his show around a séance he conducted at Pontins as a teenage bluecoat, the ramifications of his practical joke rippling out across the lives of all those present, the full extent of his dastardly deed only emerging over the course of his hour … Marx's demolition job is so thorough, though, and performed with such a devilish grin, that you can only admire him for being such a magnificent bastard.
Fest 4 Stars
This is a comic who knows how to appeal to his audience and throughout the hour they respond in kind, reciprocating the hospitality coming from the stage. You never lose the sense that Marx knows how to get the most out of his audience – it seems to come naturally.
The List 4 Stars
Underpinned with strong storytelling, impressive skills and an unprecedented crescendo that climaxes with Marx taking a pop at that ‘big fat all-over- the-place cunt in the sky’, this is supremely-crafted comedy
ScotsGay 4 Stars
The Fringe is like a box set of Friends: no matter how many times you access it there is always a gem that you had no idea was there all along. Carey Marx is so far my undiscovered gem for this year’s Fringe … I can only give you this advice: go and see Carey Marx perform and, if you can, take a Creationist along with you to add an extra dimension. .It is nothing short of heresy if you do not witness Marx’s show
Chortle 4 Stars
Although the empirical, atheist approach is a familiar one, it’s the ruthlessly uncompromising way that Marx tackles it that makes this so much fun … This is a must-see for any sceptic. But don’t take my word for it… you’re supposed to be a bloody sceptic.
One4Review 4 Stars
I willing to bet that if you asked a selection of comedians who they thought was one of the best in the business a huge number would opt for Carey Marx … he is engaging in his approach and at his very best when his humour heads down the dark route as it does often. And he has that positively evil grin!!
Daily Mail (Steve Bennet) 4 Stars
Scoundrel is almost certain to offend the devout, but if you are on his wavelength, the mocking stance and unremitting march of cold logic will reduce you to howls of laughter … You will surely think him a lot worse than a Scoundrel by the end of it, but it’s as funny as it is wrong.
LONDON IS FUNNY FOUR STARS
You can reliably expect stand-up comedians to get a little grumpy and cynical as middle age encroaches, so it's quite the surprise to watch Carey Marx doing a routine about how much he loves his cat. He even shows pictures of it to the front row, the soft bastard. It's especially surprising given the vitriol he demonstrates for his wife's hamster shortly before.
Rather than being a cop-out, writing a stand-up routine on your love for a cat is actually quite an achievement, given stand-up jokes mostly stem from either macro moans about the world, or micro ones about everyday life. But this is what Marx does, he is a gifted comic who appears to be able to write his way to a funny place regardless of the starting point. Last year it was his near-death that proved so hilarious.
• Carey Marx – moving to the Free Fringe made me happy
Anyway, moving on from balls of fluff, this is another exemplary hour of smart, barbed stand-up from Marx – who, having been on the paid Fringe last year would have costed £10+ to see; this year he's on the Free Fringe.
He speaks of the absurdity of the Snoop Dogg gig he attended, in which Snoop spends half the time doing entry-level MCing exercises. Also in his sights are the aforementioned hamster, and the, erm, shortcomings of the politically correct term "little people". It's an hour of top stand-up, no frills and no narratives.
With his hooped earring and barrel chest, I can always imagine Marx providing the entertainment for his fellow sailors below deck (not like that). Luckily for you, you don't have to set sail to see him, he's just over down the Royal Mile.
**** Review by Paul Fleckney
GIGGLE BEATS FOUR STARS
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.
HERO OF THE PEOPLE
CHORTLE FOUR STARS
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: Sunday 28th Aug, '16
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
ONE4REVIEW FIVE STARS
If you are searching for a hero, then there is one lurking deep in the underworld below the Liquid Rooms in Edinburgh’s old town and that hero is a 50 year old guy with a wicked sense of humour.
Marx has always written and delivered a quality hour on his Fringe visits and this one is of the same pedigree. He is witty, he is observational, and he paints verbal pictures with his writing that are almost tangible as he leads the packed audience through a master class of comedy that at times can be really dark, but are tempered by his cheeky grin.
He opines on railway quiet coaches, acceptable behaviour by passengers and train managers, dating, his Jewish heritage, previous medical history, and his trip to the Melbourne comedy festival and a whole host of other topics too. I am not sure how many of the audience were aware of him prior to the start of the show, but boy did they grow to know him and loved what they saw.
As part of the PBH Free Fringe entry to the show is free but a bucket collection is taken at the end of the performance. Do go and dig deep. He is worth it.
Reviewed by Geoff
Edinburgh Evening News - ‘Hilariously demented’
The Guardian – ‘Excellent’
Scotsman – ‘Unbelievably funny.’ ****
‘While his often brutal set is not for the faint of heart, there’s plenty here for the connoisseur of comedy writing.
The lines are efficient, original and potent – and rarely fail to blindside the audience. And they come at a blistering rate,
thanks to a hugely economical delivery… very, very funny.’
Edinburgh Guide *****
Reviewer Irfan Jeeva.
If you like stand-up comedy, you will love this one.
… highly engaging, devilish, menacing and totally mesmerising show.
The writing is clever, delivery crisp, timing perfect and the result is original and very funny.
The Skinny Fest (on Sincerity Aside) ****
The bizarre flavour of the show straddles the line between a carefully cultivated, naive friendliness and jaw-dropping
insolence … exceptionally funny jokes … some of the best jokes around this festival.
The Skinny Fest (on White Night) ****
He is a masterful stylist, gracefully switching from surrealism to sardonic irony.
Marx has ended up with a truly winning hour of entertainment. Definitely one of the comic highlights of this year’s fringe.
Marx's slick delivery lends itself to clever verbal comedy, while his flexible features can switch in an instant from cheeky
schoolboy grin to menacing stare.
One 4 Review ***** - 2006
Carey Marx has something different in his comedy and is surely destined for a huge future in the business.
One 4 Review ***** - 2007
The man has a wicked sense of humour … a star in waiting.
The Herald *****
Anecdotally debauched … But if his lines are frequently sick, they're elegantly written, too, and there's a childlike glee to his
naughtiness … Underrated and for the most part criminally overlooked.