Carey Marx, it seems, can get away with anything: "Aw, that Carey Marx is a lovely chap. Let's invite him round for dinner tomorrow. He can tell mother that hilarious joke about the time he was wanking on his fiancé's face." "But mightn't she be terrifically offended by his quips at the expense of the disabled? She is in a chair, after all." "Oh, tosh, Freya. You know full well that his new rape gag will go down a treat over sherry."
How, one might ask, does Marx accomplish this feat? Well, aside from the brownie points garnered from writing exceptionally funny jokes, Marx deploys, on carefully chosen occasions, a singularly indefeasible anti-abuse weapon: Parsnip. Parsnip is a prodigiously cute teddy bear. A solid five-second tickling of the ted serves to sweep up gasps of disgust under the carpet of delighted giggles. Parsnip is hugged; Parsnip is patted; Parsnip is used to enact an aggressive bumming. Hilarity ensues.
But it's not just Parsnip doing all of the work. While Marx never takes the same liberties with his own arse, he remains a major factor in the bizarre flavour of the show, straddling as it does the line between a carefully cultivated, naîve friendliness and jaw-dropping insolence. Marx lounges around listening to music as the audience file in; Marx does his own sound and lighting – he is worried that the light might be uncomfortably bright for front-rowers; Marx scraps the microphone and performs intimately to his audience; Carey (we're friends enough by now) comprehensively lambasts midgets. What a guy.
He sweats alot – it's clearly quite exhausting, bless. But, then, it's exhausting for the audience, too. He delays getting onstage for a while, preferring to natter with his new chums initially because, once he sets foot on the platform, the tap is released on an hour-long torrent of jokes. They might be some of the best jokes around this festival, but an hour's a long time to keep chortling. Just lie back and think of Parsnip.