REVIEW: Mae Martin at Glasgow Comedy Festival

Mae is startlingly confident – she holds the room effortlessly and at the end of the show, you want to be her best friend. You’ll certainly never look at Bette Midler the same way again. 

Last night, Canadian pixie comic Mae Martin performed at The Stand as part of Glasgow Comedy Festival. Her show Dope is a random mixture of pop science about dopamine, obsession, addiction, and teenage obsessions like Bette Midler (seriously) and stand up. Mae hilariously delves into her past as a stand up child fan/stalker – she started haunting Toronto stand up clubs when she was a pre-teen in the 90s, writing LiveJournal “erotic fanfiction” about her stand up crush and going on stage to show them she was a contender after it turned out that everyone was reading her rather embarrassing blog.

One of the highlights of the show is a voice recording of one of the sketch show comedians that Mae obsessed over for years, who she later befriended. At first you think Mae might have been overplaying how creepy she was as a teen, but no. The comedian refers to her as a “presence” that was “haunting” the sketch show.

The way she tells it, she was only getting gigs because of the novelty of a kid in her school uniform being a stand-up comedian, but Mae is naturally funny and insightful. If only footage remains of her early work…

Mae reveals that she dropped out of school at the age of 15 to start her stand-up career – at that point she had been gigging four times a week after school for two years and making money from it. Considering she’s 30 now – and really funny – it was a bit surprising that she’s not more well known, but then there’s a reason why her show is called Dope. And it’s not because she’s dope.

Turns out, quitting school to hang out with much older comedians full-time plus an addictive personality meant that she developed a drug addiction.

While she’s really careful not to make it too heavy and emotionally supports us through talking about her drug addiction, it never gets too dark, which is a shame in some ways. Perhaps because it’s hard to reconcile the bright, fun and open comedian with someone whose parents through her out the house and found a bag of what turned out to be heroin in her room. She looks so clean cut now!

Mae also bookends the show with emotional chats with Wendy aka her mother (would definitely like to hear more about Wendy) so you know it has a positive ending if they’re so close now.

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