Mark Simmons: Laugh Yourself Thin
A mixed bag, needless to say, of punning and visual gaggery
This article is from 2015.
For reviewers, an hour of punning can often present the same challenges as a sketch show. Almost by their very nature, some bits will work better than others, but with one-liner acts, how good they are lives or dies on the frequency of quality displayed by their atomised bits of comedy. Mark Simmons is a literal case in point. There are moments within Laugh Yourself Thin where possible genius may well lie, and others where a full-on collective groan (minus the alleviating laugh at the end) might be best possible reaction to hearing a punchline.
Knowing the limitations of the form when it comes to squashing it into 60 or so minutes of consistent fun, Simmons has thrown in a couple of techniques to distract us; little teasers such as regularly spraying himself with deodorant in between gags (there is a pay-off to that one) and physical comedy such as Simmons receiving a piggy back and attempting to start a conga (relatively successful on this night in comparison with others, he insists).
There’s also one very lengthy set-up to a joke involving every audience member in the room (thankfully it’s one of those not-massive bunkers in the Courtyard) which doesn’t quite deliver the goods in the way that it probably needed to given the extremity of its preamble. A fun hour of distraction which acknowledges within its very being that there are more vital comedians out there vying for your attention.
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 30 Aug, 9.15pm, £7–£9.50 (£6–£8.50).