The theatre was disappointingly empty for a Friday night – enough to dishearten any comedian on stage. But with a short burst of craziness, Paul Snodgrass did enough to jolt a few funny bones into action before introducing the main act, Chris Forrest.
In a washed out Oppikoppi t-shirt and faded jeans, Chris Forrest is as dry as they come. His quick thinking and sharp tongue often catch his audience off guard, and though he offers the occasional easy punch line, generally he goes for something that requires a moment’s thought.
In Cape Town we’re used to animated performances from the likes of Marc Lottering, Kurt Schoonraad, Riaad Moosa, Nik Rabinowitz et al, and Forrest’s utter deadpan, while perhaps a refreshing change, was frankly a little unnerving. And the monotone voice tipped rather too easily into a drone. In a packed house there might be enough energy to absorb that flatness… but not tonight. I don’t mind dry comedy it but can be a bore especially if it’s a Friday night in an empty theatre.
Nonetheless though small, the audience was willing and I personally made the discovery that dry humour is all about self-congratulation. I realised that if I picked up on the intended joke without all the usual cues, I would smirk happily and feel a part of Forrest’s ‘club’. And that – when it happened – made me feel good.
There’s nothing outrageous, slapstick or exaggerated about Chris Forrest; he’s just calm, chubby and straightforward. He’s someone you’d want to invite for a beer, knowing he’d be thoroughly entertaining to anyone with a vaguely dry sense of humour. His tag line says it all really: ‘Chris Forrest: He’s a Really Nice Guy’. Some might consider that line boring. Some might consider it straightforward. And some might consider it an amusingly ironic reflection on the tediousness of tag lines. Worth seeing, if only to decide for yourself.