(when an academic overthinker goes to an academically titled comedy show)

In response to Gender Marxist by Mx. Well as part of the Dunedin Fringe Festival

The audience was whooping and cheering from the start as Mx. Well ran up onto the stage at Yours on the first of a three-night run at the Dunedin Fringe to a packed audience. Whoop.

Cheer. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a night of comedy called Gender Marxist, but the small print had some clues. Content Warning Contains distressing or potentially triggering themes, Strong Language/Swearing MENTIONS OF ANTI-VAX PROTESTERS, NAZIS, HATE SPEECH, TRANSPHOBIA, HOMOPHOBIA, SUICIDE read the print, getting bigger. Also, musical theatre. I wasn’t sure

what to expect from a night of comedy called Gender Marxist because I spend most of my days academically reading about queer shit and white supremacy and decolonisation (and not really reading or writing about Marxism but don’t tell me its not all connected) eating my packed lunch doing crafts and then walking home slowly listening to a light relief audiobook something like Judith Butler’s Who’s Afraid of Gender and having a nice cup of tea so

anyway Mx. Well is a self-confessed hot bitch with a fine set of lungs and I’m much more comfortable laughing with people than at them so I was kind of conflicted about their songs in the voices of the useless straight girls in the bathroom who say GONNA WEAR A BADGE SAYING LOVE IS LOVE AND THEN I’LL CALL IT A DAY  (SLAY) and the one in the voice of the disaffected white supremacists tho I thought that in the one about the antivaxxers they did a much more fun job of explaining that whole enfolding of the outliers into neonazidom than Naomi Klein did in Doppleganger even tho Naomi Klein did a much better job in Doppleganger about articulating the whole thing about not thinking we’re not part of the problem than I’m doing now and and fuck

their tribute song for Cole Hartman/Pamela Hancock was so heartfelt and so dick joke at the same time which is an impressive feat             there were so many feelings happening in the room I felt

and one of them I felt was      nooooooo I don’t want to listen to their cronut nonbinary explainer who is this for???? They’ve already polled the room to see who is trans (WHOOP) queer (WHOOP) straight (hardly any whoop) and surely if we’re being dehumanised by people and policies which we are then it’s not the vibe to further dehumanise ourselves by calling ourselves a combination of sweet pastries anyhoooo after that tho and into the songs, people were loving it they were loving it, someone was laughing even before the jokes and there was an encore at the end and if you think you like musical theatre making fun of hate speech by being the hate speechy one or if you think you don’t you will get something from this show but it feels like a rollercoaster as to what and

I don’t mean to be the man in the front row folding his arms (that was another song) and I was holding my teacup of very good lavender and peppermint tea from Yours so I know that wasn’t me folding my arms because you can’t fold arms and hold tea could you? And Mx. Well is

compared in the listing to Hannah Gadsby and Bo Burnham (we had to look Bo up and he isn’t Tim Minchin see above about the reading writing tea lack of comedy context thing) and one thing I love about Hannah Gadsby is that they’re like nah fuck it I’m making queer shit for queer people and this was nearly that but for the cronut and the whole laughing at thing and also because

it’s so serious serious like the frightening man who came to Mx. Well’s school serious like everything is burning as we watch genocide in real time and a government trying to dismantle Te Tiriti and banning gender and sexuality education and and fucking over disability carers and and and planning to rip up land and lungs and and and and a stage is a platform and that is a privilege and I don’t want 

to laugh at the people who are encouraging and enabling this shit they are too dangerous to be a joke 

Featured photo by Hennie Stander on Unsplash.


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