Victoria Fringe Festival 2017 – Tragedy + Time Served = Comedy
Review by Tony Carter – Showbill.ca Staff Writer
August 26, 2017
CW: Drug use, sexual assault
Tragedy + Time Served = Comedy is a deeply personal show over a decade in the making. The effort and emotional energy that went into its creation cannot be overstated.
When show creator and stand-up comedian Mark Hughes hits the stage he warns the audience that he is known for his “dark, dirty, offensive” material. Today, “edgy” comedy has become synonymous with lazy writing and bigotry, which makes this show all the more impressive. Hughes focuses the lens of the show squarely on his own lived experience, his own personal journey through the nine rings of Hell. He doesn’t punch up or punch down so much as he punches himself. And for however uncomfortable the material might get (and in discussing a lifetime of emotional abuse, addiction, rape, and being in an out of prison there are going to be some uncomfortable moments), his comfort on stage and excellent comic timing make for perfect punctuation. Hughes website states that “he is instantly at home in front of recovery audiences,” and it is not difficult to see why. This show is not a therapeutic one, because Hughes has done his time in therapy already. He is comfortable talking about everything he has experienced.
One thing that stood out especially about the show was his one request of the audience at the end of it. Hughes is 11 years sober and has had that time to come to terms with the trauma he suffered, and the ease with which he jokes about it is evidence of that. He views this show as “a service to people in the situation he was in.”
THE BOTTOM LINE
Tragedy + Time Served = Comedy is dark, dramatic, and at times painfully funny. And it is one show from the 2017 Victoria Fringe Festival that absolutely deserves to be seen.
Created by Mark Hughes
Victoria Fringe Festival
Venue 1 (Victoria Event Centre)
- Aug 27 @ 1:45pm
- Aug 29 @ 8:00pm
- Sept 3 @ 1:15pm