One of South Africa’s best-loved comedians performs in Dubai on Thursday September 25. Chanelle Tourish discovers why his look is crucial to his act.
What can we expect from your show in Dubai?
It’s called, I Don’t Work On Sundays because I don’t work on Sundays. I take a break and just sit back on my couch and think about life. It’s all about what I feel like on a Sunday.
Where does your inspiration come from for your alter-egos such as Auntie Merle and Pastor Brendan?
I’m an observational comedian, so I love sitting in coffee shops and watching people and how they react to different situations. The characters are based on some real people. In Dubai, I’m going to focus less on the characters and do more stand-up about life in South Africa though.
What’s the worst heckling you’ve ever received?
Not once have I ever had anyone heckling me, and I think it’s because people can’t get over the shock of how good-looking I am. When I’m on stage and I’m wearing my gorgeous suit, they just sit there in amazement.
Are there any comedians who have influenced your act?
I’m like a lot of people in that on a Monday one person will [interest me] and another day, it’s someone else. However, with the recent passing of Joan Rivers at 81 years old, it’s impressed me that she was still doing comedy a week before her death. I hope to still be making people feel good as long as I live.
When did you realise you could make people laugh?
Growing up, my father was a church pastor and I’ve never been encouraged to be anything outside of the church. I had quite a strict upbringing and I never really knew that I wanted to be a comedian, but I’ve always known that I like to make people feel comfortable. I don’t like to see people arguing, so I’ve always been the person to make people feel happy and smile.
Do you ever feel pressure to make people laugh outside of your performances?
People feel that because you do what you do, that you’re constantly supposed to make people laugh. I don’t agree with that though – if someone’s a plumber and they are going out for dinner, nobody ever says, ‘Fix the toilet.’ I feel the pressure but I try and let people know immediately that I don’t make people laugh 24-7. If I’m in a bad mood or my hair isn’t looking good, I try to stay at home because all my funniness is in my hair.
So how important would you say your appearance is to your act?
People have attached a lot of value to my hair. It just works for the comedy, I shaved it off for charity a few years ago and it was the worst year of my life because people didn’t recognise me. I had to queue in restaurants like normal people. I totally hated it – I just love being special.
Marc Lottering Live. Dhs230. Thursday September 25, from 8.30pm. Ductac, Mall of the Emirates. www.timeouttickets.com