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Malcolm Hardee tribute show
Manchester Comedy Festival 2007: The World Stands up
Marc Hogan: Angst, Lust & Stand-up
Marc Lottering: Naughty Forty
Marcus Brigstocke: Live At The Menier Chocolate Factory
Mark Thomas: The Manifesto
Mark Thomas: Walking The Wall – Extreme Rambling
Martin White: The Nefarious World Of The Royal Accordion Society
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MySpace Trident Comedy Award 2008
Show type: Misc live shows
Marc Lottering: Naughty Forty
Cape Town comedian Marc Lottering has just turned forty and he has a few things to get off his chest. These include mid-life crises, death, undertakers, debt and love-making techniques for the over-forties…
One of South Africa’s hottest comic talents, Marc has been performing his locally flavoured comedy to critical and popular acclaim around the world for over a decade.
Having played to sell-out audiences in his three previous runs at Soho, this is a welcome return to London after four years.
Original Review:Marc Lottering is one of South Africa’s more famous comedians, but a virtual unknown in the UK. This brief run at the Soho Theatre is unlikely to change any of that. For while the almost exclusively expat audience was frequently reduced to raucous laughter, the whole show is virtually incomprehensible to British ears.
It’s not just the language differences – though his tendency to drop into Afrikaans at crucial points sure doesn’t help. When old-school Jewish comedians used to employ colourful Yiddish phrases, non-speakers could usually get the sense, and it rarely affected the punchline. But with Lottering, several whole gags are literally indecipherable unless you’re fluent.
Even without this annoyance, his stand-up hasn’t travelled well, because so much of it just plods safely through over-familiar subjects: plane travel, waking up next to someone ugly, gags about not bending down in the police cells, or a segment about bullshit spiritualism that ends on a laboured pun between spirit, the inner quality of humans, and spirits, the booze. Ha ha.
Occasionally, there’s something of much more promise. His talk of accepting the death of his parents, or of confounding stereotypical expectations of Cape Town misery by having a decent upbringing, is genuinely interesting. But such moments are tantalisingly fleeting, before it’s back to the ordinary.
A sample joke concerning the South African budget airline 1time goes: ‘1time? It’s always fucking late!’ Another carrier is called Mango. What sort of name’s that, he wonders. ‘Next I’m going to start one called Guava!’
This is hardly inventive stuff, but never underestimate the immense appeal of a comedian reminding emigrants of life back home. Comedy’s often a bonding event, giving people a sense of belonging as foibles and experiences are shared. And when your audience are all foreigners in a strange land, that function is heightened a thousandfold.
For this crowd, Lottering’s familiar accent and the mere mention of the little things that remind them of home are enough to ensure affection. Just saying ‘Golden Arrow buses’ or a local brand of washing powder guarantees hilarity, just because the audience recognises the concept… the same, really, as Peter Kay mentioning Rola Cola or Gregs to his fans.
The word ‘kak’, especially, seems to be a reflex trigger to South Africans. A British or American comic with nothing more to say than ‘that’s shit’ would be almost a parody of bad observational stand-up. But use the Afrikaans equivalent and – bingo! – instant comedy gold, and bewilderingly hearty laughs every single time. And there are lots, and lots, of times.
Then there’s Lottering’s fame, that helps ensure affection. He first comes on stage to a burst of mobile-phone camera flashes that makes this cosy auditorium feel like a Cannes red carpet. He jokingly waggles his butt at the audience, to a roar of whoops, hollers and guffaws. If you can get that sort of reaction just from waving your arse about, it must be hard to find the motivation to write decent material.
It’s not often you see a comic who has to tell the audience that something’s not a punchline – but Lottering does. They are on a hair-trigger, so primed to giggle at the slightest thing, that unless handled carefully, they can be set off accidentally at seemingly random points.
If comedians are people who either say funny things or say things funny, Lottering is firmly in the second class. He clearly looks the part, with his unnecessarily flamboyant hair, but it’s his virtuosic delivery of what’s often pedestrian material at best that’s most impressive.
He’s camp, but with a degree of restraint to his exaggerated actions and vocal performance, that keeps the tone just this side of cartoonish. He knows the power of a big physical delivery, and is in perfect control at every turn. Even with the volume turned down, you’d surmise that here was a funny guy.
It’s only when you listen to what he’s saying that this myth is, unfortunately, shattered.
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
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