Cape Town – Marc Lottering has voiced his disappointment about young comedians lacking skills, among them being able to deliver under pressure..
Lottering was in discussion with bi-weekly pop culture podcast, What’s IGN Crushing On, where he talked about adapting during Covid-19, getting recognised in public, and the intricacies of bringing his characters to life.
During the show, hosted by entertainment journalist Caryn Welby-Solomon, Lottering was asked about which up-and-coming comedians he was a fan of. The comedian gave a diplomatic answer, explaining that it is tricky for him to really enjoy other comedians.
“I see a lot of funny comedians, and particularly in Johannesburg, but because I’m constantly working, what I’ve found out in the past was (that) when I was working and watched other comedians, it was bad for me. I was creating work, and you don’t want to put yourself in a position where an idea is so appealing to you, that you find yourself using the same idea on stage.
“So because I’m always working, I never get to see a whole lot of comedy. You won’t get it out of me to single people out, because I’ve done it before and I got into a whole lot of trouble,” Lottering said.
He explained that a skill he hoped young comedians learned was delivering under pressure.
Lottering elaborated that when he started out there were other comedians beside him like David Kau and Alan Committie, and they felt that they had to book a theatre space and perform a set for at least an hour.
“These were the days before comedy clubs, so the pressure was on to write new material. Now we have comedy clubs, you come in and do seven minutes or 10 minutes, which is great, but my problem is that, as I’ve said, South Africans are crazy audiences, and when they don’t hear new material they get turned off.
“The thing about our audiences is that your material doesn’t necessarily have to be mind-blowing, they just have a whole lot of respect that you made an effort to present some new material.
“That has kind of been disappointing for me, in that I find there is not a lot of pressure, not a lot of challenge being placed at the doors of the new people about this business of new material,” he said.
He added that with the recent great successes of local comedians, such as Trevor Noah, who have gone on to be big overseas, it has created this impression that comedy comes with instant success and a rock n roll lifestyle, which is not the case.
“The young comedians assume that it is just a rock n roll life, but it’s not. The way you get there is to develop yourself and your brand, and the way you develop your brand and get your fan base to grow, is to present the audience with new stories, and to keep telling them funny and new stories.
“It’s a long road, and I just think that now where we are, it’s (success) just too quick for people in their heads…Suddenly someone sees a new comedian, and I’ve seen it happen, a whole TV ad campaign is thrown (at them) and the money is coming in…
“You’ve moved away from the honesty of the life of a stand-up comedian, and the passions, and the sacrifices that you make, and the business of just compiling the material and playing with the material. We’ve moved away from that.
“I hope that we can kind of get back to that place again where the younger people are encouraged about the earlier principles, which is worldwide, of stand-up comedy,” he said.
The full interview can be found below, and the discussion featured in this interview can be heard at the 58-minute mark.