If you have seen Stevie Martin all over Twitter then it means that the opening of her show is working: she immediately invites all her audience members to tweet about her show: “Saw @5tevieM #hotcontent, it was great. Buy a ticket!” This introduction is one of the weaker moments of what is otherwise an extremely promising and funny show that explores the world of social media. A slightly silly opener that does not prepare the audience for the more sophisticated, insightful humour to come.
Yet, you can also laud Martin for taking a risk: imagine any other act actively encouraging their audience to look at the Great Distracter, their phone! Moreover, she dares to do it despite there not being a full house, and it is a slightly rowdy (read: Fringe-tipsy) crowd.
Martin manages to lure her audience back after an awkward start, though and continues to take risks with different forms of comedy throughout her performance. At one point Martin jokes that she is a ‘Jack of all trades,’ and she might be right: she employs props, impersonations, generous use of screenshots and self-generated online content alongside her stand-up, revealing her to be a versatile and confident performer.
However, some of her less traditional comedy bits don’t land. When she has her audience partake in her Instagram story, it feels like a slightly patronising and unrealistic reference to the topic at hand.
Martin’s use of visual content, though, in the endearing form of a Powerpoint presentation, shows her at her very best, somewhat ironically creating peak ‘Hot Content’ through visual humour. Other highlights include her more cutting humour, pointing out the pervasive sexism experienced due to being a woman in comedy, or a woman in journalism (or, let’s be honest, a woman most of the time), as well as a touching speech where she implores the audience to live for the moment as well as for the likes.
While Martin is clearly adept at getting virtual validation, it is within these more serious moments of the set that her true virtues are revealed to the audience. Rather than the fleeting glory that viral content can bestow, one hopes that Martin can sustain a longer-lived success through the wit and talent that she displays in abundance during this show.
Stevie Martin: Hot Content is on at Underbelly Bristo Square, Buttercup
At 18:35 until 25th August
Buy tickets here
Image: Natasha Pszenicki