With a likeable manner on stage belying some of the stronger content, Nelson often has audiences laughing at things they know they really shouldn’t be laughing at. A degree in Politics supports his brilliantly topical writing and, although his stand-up is certainly not for the easily offended, the material is intelligent, well conceived and beautifully crafted, all supported by a very confident delivery. He is therefore a very sought-after comedian and writer, with both the skill and intellect to be able to adapt his material to suit and entertain any club, theatre or corporate audiences.
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His 2016 solo show Smiley Face premiered at the Glasgow International Comedy Festival before heading to the Edinburgh Fringe for an acclaimed run at the Gilded Balloon.
Nelson’s skills as a superb writer are also being recognised. His debut radio series Mark Nelson’s Guide To Marriage broadcast in December 2013 and won the Scottish Comedy Awards Radio prize. He supplied material for Jason Manford’s A Funny Old Week, three series of Russell Howard’s Good News, and wrote and performed sketches, topical stand-up and was co-host (with Susan Calman) of BBC Scotland’s 2014 Commonwealth Games satirical comedy series Don’t Drop The Baton.
In 2016, his series of online clips The News at 2, made for BBC Scotland’s Short Stuff series and co-starring his two-year-old daughter, went viral. Featuring topics such as Global Warming, Donald Trump and the Economy, the clips were such a hit he was re-commissioned to make more mid Brexit turmoil.
Widely recognised as a superb stand-up of the highest order, including being crowned 2015’s Best Headliner at the Scottish Comedy Awards, Nelson has no gimmicks, relies on no frills—his work is just consistently top-quality, pure unadulterated comedy gold.
Irreverent is Mark Nelson… Never have I seen a stand-up be so understatedly funny. No lighting changes, no sound clips or other kind of multimedia, he doesn’t raise his voice, he doesn’t even move other than to pick up his drink. Perhaps the purest form of stand up. But all this worked to his advantage: he doesn’t need any of that to be uproariously funny.
He genuinely just stood on the spot for an hour and told us anecdotes and stories and jokes in his normal voice and the audience’s attention was all his… All of this made his progression through the routine flawless… A mastery of storytelling
✶✶✶✶✶ Arts Award Voice
Irreverent, vulgar and humane consideration of society’s taboos… While many a comic chucks a badly aimed pot-shot at political correctness, it takes a skilled comedian to attempt a meaningful consideration of society’s taboos. This is irreverence done right.
– The List
A remarkably accomplished stage presence… blistering material which pushes dangerously near the boundaries of good taste
– The Sunday Times
A viciously sharp sense of timing
Mark Nelson possesses a talent that is simply obscene … You’ll want to see what the all the fuss is about, his act definitely reveals a star in the making. A remarkably accomplished stage manner with wonderfully crafted gags
– The List
Barbed wit and dark fodder are assured from the Scotsman with a knack for making people laugh about things they know they really shouldn’t laugh about… A real biting wit… Nelson’s stage persona is a correspondingly rebarbative one. And yet, a solid morality tends to underpin even his most extreme material, and there’s no shortage of self-mockery, either… There are enough fleeting and engaging chinks in his armour to suggest that he is, in fact, a complete softie who likes nothing better than an evening in with his fiancée, a load of scatter cushions and an Aled Jones CD. Then again, I may have just signed my own death-warrant.
– Daily Telegraph Critics Choice, 2011, Mark Monahan
Mark Nelson is the kind of comic I could listen to all night… He’s an engaging performer who never lets his show drag for an instant… Clever and funny… Lovely, funny, relaxed Scottish funniness for all.
– The Scotsman, Kate Coptick
Rarely has someone managed to be so simultaneously offensive and likeable… Thanks to his stealth delivery you actually find yourself laughing before you’ve taken in quite how outrageous what he’s saying is. Still, none of this seems mean-spirited… [he’s] controversial without seeming distasteful
Insightful and oftentimes dark material is tempered by a certain lighthearted playfulness. This is a stand-up show with no bells or whistles, no theme , no moral or clever twist to the tale. Just unadulterated jokes told by a comic bristling with confidence… Powerful punchlines hit the spot… devastatingly effective.
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Edinburgh Fringe 2017