Mark Nelson: Smiley Face

Mark Nelson is a down-to-earth guy. He’s your average every man, and in Smiley Face he delivers a great (albeit sometimes questionable) hour of standup. In his show -- much of which he performs with a beer in hand -- he talks about being a father, about being sad, and about the world. He makes jokes about the Islamic State, about parenting, and everything in between. On the whole, he is not all that politically correct. While performing, he manages to be totally unexpected and all over the place. He is at once shocking, insightful, and crude. His humour often varies in its sophistication. Sometimes he makes jokes that are really complex, and other times he grabs for low-hanging fruit. In other words, he might make a joke that addresses how sad it can be to live in today’s world, or he’ll merely mock gingers.

Very funny overall, and certainly worth checking out.

During some of the better moments of his set, Nelson is delightfully dark. There were times when he dropped some truly sick jokes that got the audience howling. However, sometimes he would say some things that weren’t dark so much as they were just a bit off-colour, and it was hard to know if he meant what he was saying or if he was just trying to get a rise out of the audience. Regardless, much of what he had to say was totally rude and vulgar, but interspersed with bits that were surprisingly thoughtful. For example, instances like the conclusion to the show, and a few choice sections when he spoke about being a father, really shone. Here he managed to be both moving and funny.

At other points during his show, however, he told some jokes that felt really offensive, and which gave this particular review pause. However, these types of jokes seem to be part of Nelson’s formula. He’ll say things that are incredibly offensive, and you won’t know whether or not he’s being serious. Granted, this type of comedy will probably get you to laugh, but sometimes that laughter is nervous or uncomfortable laughter more than anything else. Despite all this, however, the audience seemed to really love his set. Furthermore, this set is very funny overall, and certainly worth checking out.

Reviews by chhewitt95

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The Blurb

Award-winning Scottish comedian explores happiness in a self-obsessed world and tells you to stick your emojis up your (_!_). ‘Often provocative and always surprising… No frills: just a man and a mic, pithy-but-charming delivery, great jokes, and lots of them’ (Daily Telegraph, Critics Choice). ‘Blistering material which pushes dangerously near the boundaries of good taste’ (Sunday Times). ‘Profoundly hilarious… Irreverent, vulgar and humane… While many a comic chucks a badly aimed pot-shot at political correctness, it takes a skilled comedian to attempt a meaningful consideration of society’s taboos. This is irreverence done right’ **** (List).