A German company, a Frenchman and 50 Scots
At the end of a conference it is refreshing for delegates to look forward to the evening dinner and entertainment. At this event a German company, with a subsidiary in Britain organised a French comedian to entertain it’s 90% male UK workforce containing an abundance of Scotsmen, Irish and a some English, all in relaxed mode, ready for a laugh and a song.
Comedian and artiste Marcel Lacont is the creation of Alexis Dubus who is half French, fluent in the language but beautifully brings out the accent, character and movements of this carefully observed character. His subtlety at times, makes you feel he may be not strong enough for stand up but this only makes his audience listen more carefully. His appearances on television John Bishop Show have brought him to a wider audience along with his runs at the Edinburgh fringe festival receiving critical approval.
Lucont is a character created for stands up purposes by Alexi Dubus, whether this is an extension of some of his own personality or beliefs only he could answer. Indeed, he never explains why the character performs in bear feet. But this is one of the benefits of portraying someone else on stage rather than oneself as it allows the artiste to say things to their audience they might not get away with as themselves. The Pub Landlord (Al Murray), Dame Edna Everage (Barry Humphries) and Lily Savage (Paul O Grady) all are totally outrageous at times when they take on the skin of their stage personas. As with Marcels attitude to Brexit got a large laugh when he said ‘Thank you England .. I have been performing here for a last few months with a bank account full of euros …. every hour has been a happy hour for me’. One thing the British have is the ability to laugh at themselves and the assembled crowd loved it. Marcel moved from his observations to poetry in the most beautiful of French accents. The gig based in the Midlands was paid reference to by Lucont’s opening remark ‘Good to see a German fixing company returning to Coventry’. Such an acute observation earned the biggest laugh of the night.
Not everyone enjoys character stand-up comedy. They see it as a cop out. But the same principals apply as standard stand up. The person must ultimately engage their audience and take them down the roads to create laughter. Sometimes character acts can build themselves into an artistic hole. Comedian Mike Gunn’s famous ‘The Undertaker’ character was an ever present on the club circuit, until Mike dropped the persona and came on as himself. Some of the material was the same. Mike always said ‘It became more and more difficult to write new material for the character. In other words the persona had become an artistic cul-de-sac.
The evening was nicely ended by the group ‘Rockaoke’ an unconventional but highly effective karaoke rock band fronted by the ever-resourceful Kirsty Crawford whose strong lead vocals was sometimes needed as volunteer singers came up on stage to sing their numbers, backed by a live band rather than tapes. This experience kept the musical entertainment on a high level with colleagues joining in from their tables, or laughing at a co-worker messing up. Kirsty C was there to keep the energy up, through encouragement and at times showing a healthy voice and knowledge of all the numbers.
Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He lectured at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences, he has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.