Published Jun 18, 2018Underappreciated Canadian comedian Mark Forward has produced a remarkably sharp and funny special that captures his impressive range as a writer and performer. Filmed at the Drake Underground in Toronto, the viewer can both hear gales of laughter, but also see looks of shock and careful contemplation from an audience processing the full Forward treatment.
Markedly and unapologetically dark, Forward has a penchant for mischievous misdirection. The special begins with a solemn costume/prop gag that is followed up by a more anxious Forward, on stage and waiting for a heavy text about the health status of a family member. Of course, it's a ruse, and the joke's payoff is almost as much a relief as it is a release.
In a sense, such a bit reflects how we all endure the ups-and-downs of life, and Forward has a steady finger on its pulse. He deals with sensitive topics like serious illness and death with a cavalier, "Oh well" posture, and spins stories vividly with the deft hand of a seasoned actor. No fewer than three musical instruments are employed during this set, including an acoustic guitar for a paean to not feeding wildlife from one of Forward's more intricate tales.
When he mixes things up with a slew of unconnected one-liners, Forward recalls the stoic mania of Zach Galifianakis, which, when coupled with the kind of extreme observational anecdotes that made Louis C.K, a star, makes him a truly compelling force.
Mark Forward is uncompromising and confident in this special, which shows off his star power, as one of North America's finest comics.