When an unknown comic debuts, an audience has certain expectations. Mostly we expect youth, hunger and foul-mouths because people still guffaw at vulgarity. We also expect it to be pretty lame, because many comics who are great for a 15-minute slot, battle to generate enough strong material to hold together a solo show for more than an hour. By LESLEY STONES.
Tracy Klass blows away all those preconceived ideas. For a start, Klass Struggle is s a one-woman show, a rarity in itself in the comic arena. And she’s definitely neither young nor hungry. Indeed, she’s 50 and quite nicely padded. She swears occasionally, but for emphasis not from habit, and she doesn’t dredge down into vulgarity to get her laughs. Instead, her clean, insightful and hugely original material just keeps on coming.
The show could be subtitled The Revenge of the Jewish Mother. They’ve been the butt of jokes for centuries, and now a Jewish mum is on stage giving back as good as she gets.
Klass is one of the original Cape Comedy Collective comedians, although that means nothing to us Joburgers. But while her peers, including Nik Rabinowitz, Kagiso Lediga and Loyiso Gola, went on to develop their careers, she was raising three children as a single mum.
Klass Struggle is her story as she runs through encounters with teachers, school sports days, spoilt kids, hormonal swings and the complexities of technology. That might sound terribly tame in a world where we’re used to comedy that’s crude and brash, but it’s actually a reminder of how entertaining bright, observant and ironic humour can be, and the audience rightly loved it. “My children think I’m embarrassing,” she says, as she paces her way around the stage, and every parent in the theatre nods.
But you don’t have to be a parent or Jewish to find Klass extremely funny. Nor is the appeal limited to women of a certain age or colour spectrum, because her good gritty wit spans every category.
Klass is warm and engaging and great with the audience too, drawing us into her show and her life as she strings her anecdotes together. The show is directed by Riaad Moosa, who can do no wrong just now as his movie Material opens this weekend. Together they’ve kept the pace pumping and the patter varied, and given us a refreshing new funny face on the comic scene. DM
Klass Struggle runs at Sandton’s Old Mutual Theatre on the Square until 25 February.
Photo: Tracy Klass is one not to miss.
"A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason." ~ Thomas Paine