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Comedy Review: Rainer Hersch Meets APO

May 12, 2013 Theatre

NZ International Comedy Festival

Comedy Chamber, Auckland Town Hall
May 13, 2013

I had planned to take my dad along to Rainer Hersch yesterday because I thought it might have been a nice outing and because I thought it might give me some insight into the generational humour gap. I told him about the show a week or so ago but didn’t remind him until Saturday, by which time he had forgotten and entered a pool tournament instead.

Hersch does a show called Rainer Hersch’s Victor Borge, which I understand is a fond imitatory homage to Borge, who was a global superstar in the days of fondue parties from which everyone would drive home drunk. Times change, but mostly we cling on to the things that made us happy in our youth and Victor Borge spread at least as much contentment in his day as did bread dipped in cheese.

I first watched some Borge clips on YouTube a few years back and found them strangely offensive. His ‘inflationary language’ and especially his ‘phonetic punctuation’ were so clean and sterile and efficient they made me want to hurt myself. I guess they were edgy in their time, but nothing dates like comedy.

I couldn’t have faced seeing Borge bits rehashed, and because Hersch had a second show at the festival called Rainer Hersch Meets APO, I didn’t have to.

In lieu of forcing my dad to withdraw from the pool tournament, I went alone to the 3pm show, which played to a mostly grey crowd. Hersch led the scaled-down APO through a series of amusing games: playing in time to his juggling; playing country, punk and jazz versions of Beethoven’s ninth symphony; playing a symphony using body noises. He made some jokes along the way: mostly inoffensive and sometimes geographically dubious stuff like how people from Somerset are inbred, but most of the humour came from serious musicians acting a bit silly.

I found it diverting and light – about right for a Sunday afternoon. It would probably have been a riot on a Friday night in 1976, but so would have roller disco.

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