Mark Nelson: Smiley Face (3 stars)

This article is from 2016

Mark Nelson: Smiley Face

An hour about depression with amusing deviations

Welcomed into the room by the upbeat sound of Katrina and the Waves, Mark Nelson states that he wants to talk about depression. First diagnosed himself as a teenager, he handles the subject delicately, segueing into his annoyance at modern life. The Scottish comic's delivery is relaxed and unhurried, becoming more animated as he touches on topics that particularly irritate him. A hilarious exposé of the lies told using emoticons will have you thinking twice about using the winky face.

A father to two small children, there's plenty of personal material cultivated from family life, with highlights including the terrible gifts that kids give and a musing on which beloved children's TV character should get glassed, as well as jokes on universal subjects like gay marriage and refugees. He deals out a few bleaker home truths about life as a mature man and he's not shy in using audience members (or his own 'dad bod') to help illustrate points.

Returning to depression at the end of Smiley Face with a message about the importance of talking, it's easy to forget that this was the original focus in a show that handles the topic subtly, ranging freely across a variety of subjects in an easy-going hour.

Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 28 Aug (not 15), 8.45pm, £10–£12.50 (£7.50–£10).

Mark Nelson: Smiley Face

  • 3 stars

Live Nation & MZA 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).