Mark Simmons – Laugh Yourself Thin

Not every comic has the wherewithal to build the feedline of a joke into the title of their show. Then again, not every comic looks and acts like a cross between Noel Fielding and Tim Vine. Mark Simmons delivers an hour packed with clever wordplay which will appeal to anyone, regardless of their comedy tastes.

The jokes are very clever, to the point where it can take some people a few seconds to catch the punchline.

Leaving aside the scripted element of his performance for a minute, Simmons has a deceptively good control of the room. This is all the more remarkable given that he seems so unassuming and his act doesn’t rely on him getting the audience to see things from his point of view. The Pleasance Bunker 2 (it appears to be modeled on a fallout shelter) is an unwelcoming place at the best of times; especially so on a balmy August evening. Though he had to deal with mobile phone interruptions, mid-punchline audience sneezes, delayed reactions to the jokes, and an unimpressed Belgian audience-member, Simmons managed to stay on top throughout. His offbeat delivery during audience interactions helped diffuse any tension brought about by any potential losses of momentum.

The gags themselves are of the highest order. His delivery when on script is on the money every time. Puns, one-liners, prop gags, and his unique brand of audience participation break the hour up nicely and give it a good flow – not the easiest thing to do when wordplay is your stock-in-trade. The jokes are very clever, to the point where it can take some people a few seconds to catch the punchline. This creates a strange but oddly pleasing sort of effect, with some sections of the crowd picking up on the humour before others, the laughs then reverberating unevenly around the room.

To give a decent impression of Simmons’ show, I would have to give up some of his jokes – but that would be unfair to him and to you. The best thing you can do is see him for yourself.

Broadway Baby Radio interview with Mark Simmons

Reviews by Ryan O'Connor

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The Blurb

Simmons returns with a brand new show packed full of delightfully daft but carefully crafted one-liners, punctuated by absurdly self-aware set pieces. Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year runner-up. Seann Walsh tour support 2015. 'A talented comic with an artisan’s grasp of joke-writing' **** (Chortle.co.uk). 'Simmons’s hit rate is remarkably high, and he’s charmingly goofy' (Time Out). 'Perfectly timed, clever one-liners' (Leicester Mercury).