Recently I start to attend this German class on Monday evenings. You know, German, the language that is famous for being super serious with all its watertight cases and conjugations, and sometimes the pronunciations sound so harsh that they do not sound friendly (at all). When you want to say “I work” in German, you actually have to say ”I labour,” so you get the idea. But there is this Italian guy in our class. He is the one that makes the German language sing. Having him in the class is like a blessing. We are only at the beginner’s level, so we can’t actually say much in German, yet he always manages to get his ideas through, by shouting, for example, or with the help of his hands. And what’s more, the part I like the best is when the Belgians coyly whisper to each other in Dutch “oh, look at our jolly fellow from the sunny South.”
Oh yeah, what does this all have to do with stand-up comedy then? Well, you see, I’m TRYING to be funny here! So if you didn’t laugh, you should seriously think about what’s wrong with your sense of humour. Because I did use all the typical tricks: stereotypes of nationalities, exaggerations, mockery of certain people’s ignorance. What else do you need then to be f***king entertained?!
I admit that I’m never the funny one among my friends. And as you can see, most of the time I fail grandly at trying to be funny. But the good news is, ladies and gentlemen, I won’t try to become a stand-up comedian (cuz personally I prefer a job when I can sit down and work, you know, like what I’m doing right now). Instead, I only go and admire the people who are actually good at this. This Wednesday, I met three of them: Sally-Anne Hayward with the weirdly high-pitched voice and the jokes that she mostly hides in her rapid rolling murmurs, Steve Day with the small d whose jokes force you to laugh if you don’t want to risk political incorrectness and Jovanka Steele the chubby lady who roars into the microphone with her very integrated Dutch that is somehow still heavily tinted with an American accent. They were a great set. From time to time, you could feel that Pieter De Somer aula was rocking with laughter.Sally’s performance was more interactive. Maybe it had to do with the fact that she was the first to go on the stage. She picked up this “Dutch lady” from the crowd and just wouldn’t leave “her” alone for the rest of the show. One piece of golden advice to the Canadians à la Sally: getting annoyed being called American all the time? Get your own accent! Steve was actually my favourite. First of all, he was modest. “I am the only deaf comedian in the UK. At least I’ve never ‘heard’ of another one. And that’s the only joke I know). Secondly, he also studied philosophy at university. According to him, that’s the best subject you can choose if you are deaf since not being able to hear all the lectures won’t be an obstacle at all. Jovanka appealed to the audience with the funny moments from her own experience as an expat living in Belgium. One thing she got it right: maybe the Belgians are a tough crowd to entertain (they will become quieter if you ask them a question), but they are always very generous in terms of self-mockery. So kissing one time or three times? One and only one warm meal per day keeps the doctors away? Figure it out while you laugh your guts out!