I have certain rules. One of them is that, when a friend asks you to watch their daughter do a stand-up comedy routine at an upstairs theatre in an Islington pub, you say “No, thank you”. So when an email came in from a friend I hadn’t seen for over 20 years – and not likely to bump into any time soon, because he lives more than 3,000 miles away – it should have been a no-brainer. Except …
Except that I remember how, in our student days, this particular friend could hold an audience in the palm of his hands and have them heaving with laughter. If his daughter had inherited even half of his comedy genes, it would be a very funny evening. And so it turned out: Mae Martin has, indeed, inherited more than half of her father’s comedy genes. Way more.
With a microphone, a guitar and a show that’s been to Edinburgh and lived to tell the tale, she talked about summer camp, showers and sex.
Clearly, I’m not the most obvious demographic target for a 20-something comedienne – still less, a gay 20-something comedienne. But then the future for a gay 20-something comedienne who targets only her own demographic is probably a lot more Friday nights spent in a smoky theatre above a pub in Islington. (Yes, I know, smoke got banned from pubs years ago. But in some pubs, it lingers.) So it was good for Mae, and even better for me, that hers is cross-generational comedy. Not family comedy, though. This is definitely a 15-rating if it ever gets onto DVD. But clearly written for a wider audience than Islington pubs and Edinburgh Fringe.
It wasn’t all plain sailing. I did wonder whether I was always laughing at the same things as other audience members. Like a child who laughs at an extremely blue joke, oblivious to its true meaning, I wondered whether there were double entendres from which I was picking up only one entendre. Possibly. But one entendre was more than enough for me. And I was very pleased with myself for getting the en passant Dawson-and-Pacey reference. (Not sure, on reflection, that I should have admitted to knowing who Dawson Leery is, but that particular cat’s not going back in the bag any time soon.)
By rights, Hotel Rwanda star, Don Cheadle, should call his lawyer if he ever heard what Mae had to say about a (fictional?) encounter between them. But apparently Cheadle’s heard it and his lawyer remains safely in his holster. Which only makes me wonder whether the story could possibly be true … In which case, Mae’s father should probably be calling his lawyer. Which doesn’t seem to have happened, either. Curious.
He has, however, contacted me. The gap of 20 years and 3,000 miles is to be bridged next month. So much for my rules.