Review: Comicus Erectus
The latest show featuring the four comics George Kapiniaris, Basile, Joe Avati and Tahir on now for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Oh look I laughed, I did. And I laughed at times when I felt and thought I shouldn't, I did laugh. That is ethnic humour. It teeters that fine line between what is okay and what's not, all because of the way the world is going. Political correctness has no place in a show about the evolution of ethnic comedy. Political correctness must be left at the door before entering this show.
Comicus Erectus is pretty much a stand-up of four very well-established comics - George Kapiniaris, Tahir, Joe Avati and US comedian Basile.
Running for a little over two hours - with a break in the middle - Turkish comedian Tahir takes the lead as MC of the night. He sets the scene by warming the crowd with funny quips and imaginative observations on our society today. His keen eye for detail - such as his wry explanation of airline travel and pilots - on very ordinary events have you laughing all the way through. His clever banter, a highlight for me, keeps you pumped for the whole night.
First comic off the rank was George Kapiniaris who graced the stage dressed as his Thea Eleftheria - complete with black dress and headscarfe. She wants to be a rockstar - 'Lady yiayia' to be precise. Kapiniaris is an amazing character performer. His over-exaggerated aunty is another notch he can add to his list of characters that are soon to be comedy favorites.
Once the suit is off, it's back to Kapiniaris and he really left no stone unturned in poking fun at ethnic stereotypes.
Next up is Joe Avati, the Italian darling amongst the Italian crowd. He painted a picture of what life is truly like for an ethnic child, one that entailed no school camp, torturous parents, forced labour and embarrassing incidents with friends, all with a wry comparison to the life of a second or third generation ethnic. Oh, how easy they have it.
After the break, it's all about the US sensation Basile - who is a formidable force when he takes the stage to a soundtrack of Born To Be Wild, complete with leather jacket, bikie sunnies and ciggie. To say this comedian is larger than life is an understatement, he truly has to be seen to be believed. American humour is more bold and brash compared with Australian but it certainly added a jolt into the evening. Being a night of exploration of ethnic comedy, and it's evolution, Basile gave Australian's the feeling of 'even though I am American, the same thing applies for all ethnics of the diaspora.'
The night ended with a huge musical number showing the ethnic evolution from the '50s to now, with songs taken from the era redeveloped for the show. As soon as Basile starts crooning - it's on. For the next 15 minutes, the musical journey takes you from Elvis to Eminem, complete with props, hysterical lyrics and dance moves.
The jokes are familiar stereotypes that we can all relate to, but I did wonder what it would be like for a non-ethnic not in on the joke and how would it fair for them? With Greek and Italian words interspered throughout routines, the comedians are really banking on an ethnic crowd. But given the jeer from the crowd when asked 'How many Greeks here? How many Italians? How many Turks?', then it's safe to say they were in good hands.
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