Pierre Novellie

Pierre Novellie

Pierre Novellie was born in South Africa, lives in the Isle Of Man and was a member of Cambridge Footlights. He was nominated for best newcomer in the 2014 Chortle Awards, a finalist in the 2012 Chortle Student Comedy Award and won the 2013 Amused Moose Laugh-Off.
Read More

Pierre Novellie: You're Expected To Care

Edinburgh Fringe review by Steve Bennett

Pierre Novellie exudes an air of understated prestige. He talks calmly but with authority, selecting just a few subjects which he takes apart forensically from several angles.  

His showcase opening routine about British food is one case of taking a simple, universal premise and spinning it into an impressive ten minutes by offering example after example. 

When one of then prompts a response of slight disgust, he notes that it only seemed weird because most of us hadn’t grown up with it. To him, a South African man, much of British custom is still weird, even if he’s spent most of his life here.

Unusual food isn’t as edgy as he gets, though, in a set that covers suicide, Isis, Michael Jackson and categories of porn. Novellie must have a disturbing internet search history.

Nor is he afraid to get close to the line on these subjects, with some apparently pro-suicide jokes as he talks about his work with the charity CALM, from which we are assured he can’t really mean it.

Unsurprisingly, he’s best when coming at a routine obliquely, such as looking at some of the less obvious jobs within the Daesh machinery. He’s well-informed, too, using Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as a punchline, even if it does leave behind some audience members who haven’t done their homework. But Novellie is not afraid to appear superior.

In another fine segment, he shines a light on how preposterous the world is by describing scientifically proven reality as if it was the most crackpot, conspiracy-theory quackery. The credibility gap between the preposterous-sounding explanations and the fact we know they’re true is fertile. 

However, gags about Michael Jackson so obviously being a paedophile in plain sight hardly cover fresh comic ground, meaning the routine has an air of familiarity even if he’s found a new way into the topic. 

The same applies to his discussion of the video titles on internet porn sites – the gags are different, but the territory is familiar. Plus the exploitative seediness of what he’s making light of is a nagging concern that constricts the laughter.

Running short at a shade under 50 minutes, You’re Expected to Care is a selection of assuredly delivered set-pieces – some brilliant, some merely solid – that has no pretension of adhering to a grander theme. Although the official programme description of Novellie applying ‘intellectual levity to appalling subjects’ seems a fair summary.

Read More

Published: 5 Aug 2019



We do not currently hold contact details for Pierre Novellie's agent. If you are a comic or agent wanting your details to appear on Chortle, click here.

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.