Review: Max & Ivan: Life, Choices

A consistently funny and perfectly structured show about fatherhood, friendship, and the future

comedy review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Max & Ivan
Photo by Rachel Sherlock
Published 05 Aug 2023

Find a job you love and you’ll never do a day’s work in your life, so they say. What they rarely add (but should) is that if you monetise your hobby and friendship you’ll never know a single day of inner peace. 

Max Olesker and Ivan Gonzalez, heartbreakingly, are coming to realise this. They became a double act in 2008, and detailed evidence of their mutual affection has contributed to the magic of their storytelling-heavy live shows ever since. 

But they’re older now. Let’s call it early-to-mid-30s. Gonzalez has a baby, and life for a comedy duo is a precarious existence at the best of times (which these, emphatically, are not). Olesker, meanwhile, had a lot of thinking time forced upon him when what was supposed to be a trip to paradise took a nasty turn. 

And so, as the men behind the cult Fringe show, The Wrestling, assess their own character types and consider where they are in life, they look to their fathers for advice and insight. And what lives the older men have lived. We’re guided through astonishing descriptions of some of the things they got up to, all enhanced by Max & Ivan’s customarily engaging multimedia displays, which here include everything from eye-misting photos of the past and daft photoshopping to deliberately ridiculous private data breaches from Gonzalez. 

Not only is this show consistently funny, and perfectly structured and executed, but the emotional twists and turns will do all sorts of things to your heart. Bring your best friend and bring tissues.