A funny and quite philosophical look at money

By: Apr. 02, 2024
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“We’re all just scootering around on the commute of life”

Mary O’Connell: Money Princess starts with a bang, as O’Connell emerges from behind the curtains, money guns in hand, spraying money over the audience as “Big Spender” plays. The fun only lasts for a few seconds, however, as the guns quickly run out of money and leave O’Connell standing on stage, pink guns in hand, music blaring. This is when the show really starts. O’Connell reveals that she has an obsession with money, the very thing that is causing stress in her life. 

According to O’Connell, she’s not interested in anything like feeling joy or having experiences. Instead, she’s focused on the material, claiming, “The things I value are the things you can quantify.” Things like happiness don’t mean much to her, as “You can’t buy iced lattes with smiles.” She uses the amount of battery on your phone as a metaphor for money, stressing out when those around her are running around on low battery - so stressed that she has a charger for an audience member whose phone is at 20%!

The main focus of the show, other than money in general, is a comedy competition that O’Connell participated in, but not just any comedy competition - one hosted by OnlyFans with a cash prize of £50,000! But it wasn’t all laughs, as according to O’Connell, it was quite possibly the worst week of her life, stuck inside the Hilton Hotel in Islington and worrying about whether she would win the competition or not.

But, along with the main story of the OnlyFans competition, O’Connell also discusses the absurdity of having to work, making the point that all jobs are simply sending PDFs, just some people get paid a lot more than others. O’Connell has a day job outside of comedy, as she believes that doing stand-up full-time is too much of a risk and that those who do it have to be at least a little bit delusional, but that doesn’t mean she enjoys it! She compares capitalism to Love Island, embarrassing to take part in but with the possibility of fame and fortune being too good to look away.

O’Connell is a great storyteller, taking audiences through her reasoning behind statements. Her little “mic drop” movement she does with her hands is hilarious and helps to emphasise the points she’s making while still keeping things funny. Even though she isn’t a fan of clowning and has some interesting thoughts on who gets to be a clown, O’Connell’s physical movements throughout the show, particularly when she is emphasising her points, are great and add to the comedic effect of what she is saying. 

One of my favourite recurring sections is when she asks if the audience knows what a waterfall is, referring to it as a range of things including an “ocean for tourists” and a “dishwasher for rocks.” There isn’t much crowd work in the show, but when there is, it’s quite amusing. At one point, O’Connell starts a call-and-response joke about capitalism, stating, “This capitalism is so late . . .” and repeating it until the audience responds, “How late is it?” before making several great jokes. 

Along with making some great jokes, O’Connell makes some interesting points for the audience to think about long after the show is finished. She expresses her frustration with the fact that there are restrictive expectations for black and brown comedians and resents the freedom of white comedians in comparison to her own experiences.

One particular example she gives is her dislike of tattoos, as she associates them with whiteness and a white person’s ability to “make part of their skin unemployable,”; a fascinating take that I can guess most people in the audience hadn’t thought about before. O’Connell is also open about her concerns for the future, particularly the fact that she has been saving up for a future that isn’t guaranteed - what if all the time she has spent focused on money has been for nothing? 

Mary O’Connell: Money Princess is a funny and quite philosophical look at money and the current state of the world from the perspective of a comedian who is proud of her materialism. 

Mary O’Connell: Money Princess ran from 27 to 30 March at Soho Theatre.