Comedy preview: Mark Dolan @ Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh

Published by METRO

In order to arrive at a witty and intelligent introduction to this piece, I thought I would trace the origins of the names Mark and Dolan. I’ll be honest with you, the results were slightly disappointing, and after a few minutes of head-scratching, it was back to the drawing board.

I decided that I probably ought to leave the comedy for the experts, and just introduce you to Mark Dolan in a conventional way, like this: He was born in Camden in 1974, making him 37-years-old. He’s a writer, presenter, and of course a comedian, who’s treating us all to his second solo comedy show at the Fringe.

But then, I thought: Doesn’t it really seem a long time ago that people were saying a recession was about to begin? Well, that was the same year that Dolan last performed in Edinburgh. 2007, it was.

He certainly doesn’t seem to have fared too badly in this period of economic instability, being the face of such television hits as Balls of Steel and The World’s… and Me. Can this really be just a coincidence?

Dolan’s kept suspiciously quiet about this potential conspiracy theory, and is not giving much away about his new set either, recently describing it on Twitter as ‘designed to produce laughter’. What we do know is that he’s going to be talking about the preoccupations of the modern man, politics, married life, and why betting shops have those little pens.

But what else can we expect? Well, he’s clearly fond of interacting with the crowd, so there’s probably going to be some of that. He managed to make a whole show of it last time around, dealing with the personal problems of his spectators in I’m Here to Help!, which turned out to be a resounding success.

‘I’ve always liked having an audience,’ Dolan told Metro last year. ‘I grew up surrounded by large groups of people.’

That’s all very well and good, you might think, for a man who’s booked in at one of the Fringe’s largest venues. However, after a lengthy break from live comedy, during which time he’s been insulted by a 74cm-tall man and become a father of two, he might find that the problem is that he can’t quite share enough.

Oh, and by the way, Mark, or Marcus, refers to Mars, the Roman god of War, while Dolan is an anglicised version of a Gaelic surname, meaning ‘unfortunate’ or ‘unlucky’. Go on, see if you can work that into an amusing paragraph.