Mae Martin: Sap

‘It’s a really different crowd when you open for Mae Martin,’ Jack Barry comments with a chuckle. He has just mentioned that he’s started going to therapy, and we the audience have cheered in response. He’s a great opener, and seems to be a great person too. And yes, he is wearing that suit from Feel Good, Martin’s disarmingly honest queer dramedy, for which they were nominated for the Best Female in a comedy Series BAFTA. (Their response: ‘This is thrilling! … Ps gender’s a construct’.)

A GIF from Mae Martin's show Feel Good. Mae's character Mae kisses George, played by co-star Charlotte Richie. They are sat in a dimly lit bar with blue lights.

It is the first night of Mae Martin’s new stand-up tour: Sap. Manchester is buzzing – and not just with police officers, who outnumber a small Black Lives Matter Protest three to one, presumably to protect them from the nearby Conservative Party Conference. At the O2 Ritz, however, you can sense the excitement. My gaydar is going off so much I’ve had to put it on silent, and my school friend is enjoying the ‘bi vibes’ very much. The girl who sits next to me reads The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo during the intermission (a popular queer read).

You can sense the genuine friendship when Jack announces Mae Martin to the stage. They look a bit small on the big stage, which Mae seems to sense too. ‘I feel like I should have backing dancers,’ they say, looping around the stage with glee. You can barely tell they’ve spent nearly two years away from live audiences – and mainly the only way you can tell is in the clear novel enjoyment on their face. ‘I suppose I should tell a joke now, but I really just want to chat with you guys.’

Mae Martin looking very seriously downward in a white hoodie on a white background.

This is stand up, of course, and there are so many laughs. The biggest will have you howling about snow globes, and you will never look at conversations the same way again. There’s also a tour of a graveyard of dead hypothetical children, as Mae easily brings humour out of absurd and scarring emotional subjects. There’s an impromptu one-person play. Trauma bonding is a throwaway joke.

They do sometimes wander away from humour and into a dark and bleak corner of the psyche. ‘I thought you were trying to stay positive,’ someone shouts, recalling an earlier bit.

‘Oh yeah,’ they respond with a self-aware grin.

Later on we get to witness them having a genuine crisis over Eddie Izzard, as they laugh along with us at the absurdity of it all. Their energy is slightly less manic than you might expect (especially if your expectations are based mainly on Feel Good), but no less infectious for it.

Overall, it’s a great night, and a wonderful addition to my snow globe collection.

A wonderful and slightly manic evening, where Mae considers how to be good in a world which very much is not.

But is it gay?
Most of the humour is on universal topics, but, I mean, come on. Yeah.

2 thoughts on “Mae Martin: Sap

  1. It was a wonderful snow globe for my collection as well! (“This is me, I’m me!”) And this was a wonderful review also, it’s like I was reliving the night in my head as I was reading it! Thanks again for bringing me along! 🙂


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