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Sweet 'n Sweaty

Sweet ‘n Sweaty

by Zoe Henry / 26.05.2009

Good South African comedy is hard to find. Although we have a pretty good sense of humour as a nation, it’s a prerequisite for dealing with all the kak, but many comedians find it difficult to translate that into quality stand-up. They tend to come across as that kinda funny guy at your neighbour’s braai. Mark Palmer used to be that guy. His material was inferior, he was sweaty and awkward on stage, which made him rather unpleasant to watch. It’s bordering on unbelievable that that was the same oke starring in Witticism at Obz Café.

Still somewhat sweaty, Mark Palmer has grown confident and his material is better. He’s managed to work his overactive sweat glands into his act, and wears a sweat towel around his neck. A little self-deprecation goes a long way. His gig revolves nonchalantly around some typical subjects, such as problems between the sexes: women’s love of shoes, men’s seemingly unreasonable desire for a nap, and the dos and don’ts of carving a chicken.

The battle of the sexes as the foundation for a comedy show? Ho-hum, nothing new there. But what makes Mark Palmer different from the hundreds of other comedians complaining about their wives is that he keeps it clean. It’s so easy to get laughs with profanities and bawdy sex stories. But to make the audience roar with laughter by regaling them with your wife’s reaction to leaving her sunglasses at home? Now that takes another sort of talent. The sort that’s far harder to come by as an audience, and far harder to acquire as a comedian.

Beyond his cleanliness, Mark Palmer comes across as a genuinely likable guy. Something to mistrust in a comedian, for sure. But it’s a unique selling point, in a profession where so many of his contemporaries come across as arrogant wankers that get their jollies by making us cringe, or abusing someone in the front row, this is a rare find. As a member of the audience, you want to laugh at his jokes.

Mark Palmer’s Witticism runs until 31 May at Obz Café in Cape Town.

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RESPONSES (3)
  1. Alan says:

    Saw the show with my wife. I almost choked on my drink laughing so hard and my wife was constantly wiping her eyes, there was no makeup left after the show. Amazing to watch a comedian talk non-stop for more than an hour and not swear once or even become vulgar. Awesome show, highly recommended.

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  2. Candy says:

    I know how your wife felt, Alan. I left there with NO mascara on and puffy eyes (not so pretty)! Mark’s comedy is sharp, clever, and has a natural talented at being very very funny! He even acts funny! Brilliant show. Hysterical. I laughed till my tummy and cheeks ached, from start to finish – in fact, i’m going a second time and taking a new group of mates. It’s THAT good! Go and see him before the show ends this Sunday!

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  3. kim says:

    I wish I had teachers like Mattew Palmer,Geoff Kersey.or Terry Harrison when I was at socohl I might have Been painting for a lot longer, instead of being told to give up ,I would have been encouraged more ,now 60 years old I would not have wasted 46 years. well I am learning now from books and the panting and drawing channel thanks SAA.

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