Mark Nelson @ Gilded Balloon
Irreverence sees Mark Nelson stick to the comedy he knows best
Mark Nelson’s Irreverence is so named because the word keeps coming up in reviews, he tells us early on. It’s easy to see why as Nelson guides his audience through an accomplished hour of stand-up that gets plenty of laughs but ultimately relies on the shock factor, covering ground ranging from ISIS to paedophilia in a high-energy hour.
On this particular night – the first Saturday of the Fringe – Nelson deals deftly with an especially lively crowd who interject often and even pre-empt punchlines on a couple of occasions. His snappy retorts and the ease with which he keeps the audience onside under these conditions highlight his polished comic skills and complement a performance which is already well-timed and pitched perfectly for an audience you sense he knows well.
These fans were not be disappointed. While the context for his material has evolved, the laughs still ultimately rely on the uncomfortable, which is an area Nelson occupies with unapologetic confidence. There are flashes, too, where he goes beyond this, weaving in political observations and sharp lines about social issues. But ultimately Nelson knows what his audience want and delivers it with gusto.