Monday evening with Werner Weber at the On Broadway Theatre on Long Street was far from another sterile stand-up routine by some barely-known comedian throwing a tirade to an indifferent audience. It was blatant from the size of the audience that this local comedian has amassed a loyal following from more than just a few locals. Throughout the evening, outrageous and outraged laughter continuously played tag with suppressed giggles as eager patrons strained to catch every word the funny man uttered. It was inconceivable that any single member of the crowd was left unstitched at any one time during the show.
Weber’s first solo comedy showcase, Devolution – The Theory of Stupid, started with a video documentary on evolution which, to be honest, was the lowest point of the show. The evolutionary scientist (Weber) on screen was then on stage rocking a red tie, shirt, blazer, jeans and a pair of red chuck tailors. He launched straight into an onslaught on the usual suspects: class distinction and politics, but loosened it up with some obscure observations of pets, poverty, aging, urban myth and even Weber’s own Afrikaans upbringing, all of which were wildly ridiculed to the hilarity of the expectant crowd.
There wasn’t much about evolution – other than Weber’s theory that most people are a bit stupid – but it didn’t matter. At one moment he would be speculating about the highs and lows of a prostatectomy, and the next he’d be sharing his ingenious ideas for showing kindness to beggars. His humour was as consistent as clockwork, never crude and certainly never dull. Cape Town sometimes suffers from comedy which is overly-animated or plain crude, as though trying too hard to catch the audience’s attention. Weber is a class above, with an easy, straightforward humour and enough jokes to last him 10 shows back-to-back.
For the majority of the audience the evening ended too soon and there was much lively commentary outside the theatre after the show about this local innovator. Advice to comedy aficionados locally and countrywide: keep your eyes out for this local (d)evolutionist – he may re-tickle your long fossilised funny bones.
Werner Weber’s Devolution – The Theory of Stupid runs at On Broadway 26 – 28 September 2011.