Guest Editorials GUEST REVIEW: Mick Foley U.K. Comedy Tour - is Foley's comedy act worth seeing in-person?
May 7, 2013 - 10:14:20 AM
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Guest Review - Mick Foley's U.K. Comedy Tour
By Paul O'Brien, wrestling author
When you skim over anything Mick Foley does in front of a crowd, it's sometimes hard to see the polish. The slickness. The work or craft behind the effort. His own self-deprecating take on his work sometimes bolsters that impression - like there's a lucky randomness to Foley's success. However, anyone who truly paid attention to the WWE Legend's career would have seen that very polish shine out from behind the missing teeth, broken bones, and stitches.
And anyone in attendance at the opening night of "Tales from Wrestling Past" surely saw it, too.
His support act, local comedian Martin Mor, had whipped the buzzing crowd into a blue haze of hilarity and crowd participation (read: banter or heckling). Mor was clearly in his element surrounded by his people, talking like his people, about things his people understood. By the time the Hardcore Legend was ready to come out, his support act had confiscated a phone, threatened violence to an audience member, physically walked another back to his seat, and informed someone in the front row what his mother "was really like."
And next up was the nice guy from Long Island.
It was hard to know what to expect. Not that anyone would ever intentionally give Foley a hard time. But, in the past, people have given him a hard time just by chanting for him during a punchline or shouting things at the stage when he asks a rhetorical question. Over-exuberance was the usual cause of wobbliness. That and drink.
But not this time.
I admire Foley's willingness to take to the road, to pay his dues all over again. He's played to huge crowds and tiny crowds (I last saw him in front of a drunk crowd of ten), but he always swings big. And even though this was my fourth Foley show in three different countries, one thing remains the same - he always does his job at these shows. He always leaves them laughing. Laughing, standing at the end and always wanting more. Because even though the material changes hugely from town to town and show to show, the audience reaction does not. They love former WWE champion and they laugh hard at what he has to offer.
And Empire Hall in Belfast was no different. Foley came out and grabbed the show by the throat, in a very Mick Foley way, of course. The crowd were excited to meet the Hardcore Legend and they let him know it. They tore the house down, played along, chanted - when called for - and even Faun-dawn-goed in unabashed pockets. And they did because the main attraction guided them around like a pro, with command and skill. This was a Mick Foley who had seemed to finally stop subconsciously apologizing for just being up there. A Foley who knew his audience and what they wanted. And most importantly, a Mick Foley who delivered laughs, bang, time and again.
His resulting charm, anecdotes, and tales hit the target one after another, although I always get the impression with Mick that he wants to go towards 'smarter comedy,' but shies away from it.
The highlight of the performance for me was when we were taken to Germany and let in on an astute observation in a sex club. What made it great was, it was an observation that only a group of wrestlers could make. An observation that gives us a peek inside the sometimes ridiculous worldview of pro wrestlers. But, it was an observation that kept unwrapping itself until it became comical and poignant at the same time.
It was a story that was layered beautifully, hilariously. It was a story where the polish was there to be seen.
Go see this show.
Paul O'Brien is the author of the "Blood Red Turns Dollar Green" series. They're crime novels set in the '70s pro-wrestling territory days. Vol. 2 was released just this week. You can find out more about these #1 Bestselling books HERE at PaulOBrien.info. You can also reach Paul on Twitter @tweetpaulobrien .
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