Maverick Life

Before the Committie: Alan takes his comedy seriously

By Lesley Stones 5 February 2013

Alan Committie has to be one of the best value-for-money comedians in the country. That’s not as flattering as saying he’s the most hilarious, or the most cutting-edge, but in these tough economic times, value for money isn’t something to be sniffed at. It’s certainly something to be laughed at, with his new one-man show No, Seriously? not to be taken seriously at all. By LESLEY STONES.

Committie is an absolute master of stand-up comedy of the brainy, off-the-wall and often ad-libbed variety.

The first half alone lasts for more than an hour, and after the interval he’s back for another session of boundless energy and enthusiasm. While it’s not hilarious comedy of the rib-aching variety, the steady flow of wacky ideas and stories stretched to ridiculous proportions keep you laughing constantly.

There’s a lovely variety of pace and content too, with the comic routine interspersed with a couple of caricatures, some wicked political analysis and a spoof version of Dirty Dancing.

Much of the show relies on willing participation from the audience, which he gets thanks to his easy interaction with the crowd and his perfectly pitched way of delivering mock insults that have the victims laughing as much as those around them.

His ad-libbing and instant ability to turn any subject into a joke never cease to delight, and his routine about the new open-top tourist buses in Johannesburg was an absolute gem. Another winner is a funny interlude where he reads school textbooks rewritten in 50 Shades of Grey style, to get kids looking forward to a broader education.

Although the script runs through a variety of topics and scenes, references to earlier jokes are woven back in to give the show a strong continuity.

For me the weak spot is always the Johan van der Walt character, partly because I don’t speak Afrikaans, and party because as my Afrikaans-speaking escort said, it’s basic and pedestrian humour.

His other character, Trevor Tahor, is a far funnier mickey-take of mentalists and mediums, racking his bogus spiritual powers to connect with the equally questionable mental vibes of his audience.

Committie is a very visual comedian too, with lovely expressions and a few neat moves that keep him constantly on the go, working the space as well as he works the audience.

During the interval we’re invited to Tweet or SMS our comments and jokes to Committie, which results in a few shout-outs and a couple of jokes that he happily shares, laughing along with the rest of us.

At one stage he apologises if he’s having more fun than we are. He’s certainly having a good time, but I’m confident that the audience was enjoying it even more. Seriaaasly. DM

 * Alan Committie’s No, Seriously? runs at Montecasino Theatre until March 3.

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