Comedian Carey Marx on his heroes
Woody Allen, Lennny Bruce, Mitch Hedberg and Louis CK are among the former magician's idols
When I started out in comedy I was a magician and my act largely consisted of pulling vegetables out of people’s ears. I didn’t have any heroes because there is a dearth of vegetable-based magic acts. As I moved into pure stand-up (I like to think what I do is pure!), I naturally checked out more comedians. The first to blow me away was Woody Allen. At a time when the majority of comedians were joke-regurgitators, Allen wrote his own material which hung on his neurotic persona. His perfectly formed jokes, delivery, timing and style are still amongst the funniest and best examples of how good comedy can get with attention to detail.
Later, I got into the ranting Lenny Bruce. His direct language, harsh topics and social comment were a blistering attack on hypocrisy and censorship. Closer to modern day, I’d have to say Mitch Hedberg. Another type of comedy done brilliantly. Surreal, silly, clever and charismatic. Mitch wasn’t trying to change the world, just make it laugh.
My current favourite is Louis CK. Here’s a comedian in his early 40s whose skills and experience shine. He tends to hit each subject with freshness, honesty, hilarious lines and warmth. Plus, his sitcom, Louis, is one of the finest things on television. I don’t really think of Louis CK as my hero though. For that accolade, he’d have to make me laugh whilst rescuing me from a burning building. But, I do love watching him work.
The Stand, Edinburgh, Thu 8–Sat 10 Dec.