Mark Dolan Changes the World

The show opens with Dolan asking whether anybody in the audience is married. A vague muttering of assent from the crowd. Dolan eagerly picks up on this lack of enthusiasm, wondering what this says about the desirability of marriage.

This is not a show which will revolutionise the way you think about comedy, but it is well judged and charming, and there are much worse ways to spend an evening.

At this point, I am very much not on board. This is a joke so hackneyed that not only have I already heard it several times before, I have heard it twice already this week. I slump back in my chair, preparing myself for an hour’s worth of identikit material from the collective creative Ikea of stand-up comedy.

Luckily, Dolan neglects to live up to my opening snap judgement. His material is witty and easy to listen to, skillfully mixing the personal and political. His central premise is that there is much wrong with the world, and he intends to recreate it from scratch. This allows for an enjoyable mixture of amusing grumbling and wide eyed idealism. His prepared material is not uproarious, but at no point did I find myself shifting in my chair and checking my watch.

Dolan manages to be mocking without cruel, taking his victims in the audience along for the ride rather than leaving them standing on the curb to be ridiculed by the rest of us. There is a sense that Dolan loves meeting people through the shows, and gets genuine enjoyment out of sharing his comedy with them. With this the case, it is hard for that enjoyment not to be infectious.

Yes, there are shots at easy targets: jokes about the Scots liking Gregg’s and similar. But there are also moments which are sharply observed. This is not a show which will revolutionise the way you think about comedy, but it is well judged and charming, and there are much worse ways to spend an evening.

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The Blurb

Are you fed up with corrupt politicians, bloody wars and those long queues at Primark? Mark Dolan gets it sorted in his hilarious new show for 2014, unveiling his revolutionary manifesto for a better world, which includes a windfall tax on fake tan, the abolition of supermarket self-service checkouts and a custodial sentence for anyone watching kitten videos on YouTube. Celebrity culture, politics, social media and trips to Poundland are all targets for his satirical eye. He's already being dubbed the white Obama. Find out why in this year's must-see Edinburgh show. ‘Fantastic’ **** (Metro).

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