Admit it, even the title of this show makes you smirk. As the packed-out room at The Pear Tree settles down, Olaf Falafel announces proudly that his backstage area consists of a black shower curtain hung over two tables beside the stage, and you know it’s going to be a silly hour ahead.
Clinging to a loose theme Olaf begins by claiming he was saved by dolphins, known to Olaf as ‘shiny sea saveloys’, when he was younger. He’ll come to the explanation at the end. It’s not worth waiting for, but you’ll soon learn that there’s no rhyme nor reason to any of Olaf’s material. First, there’s self-deprecating humour about his appearance (hipster pirate) then comes a mickey take on Horoscopes with ‘Biscuitology’. Olaf assures us he can accurately describe a member of the crowd’s personality based on their favourite biscuit. The ludicrous notion immediately builds anticipation followed by uproarious laughter when the first chap he picks on chooses ‘Jaffa Cakes’. Thankfully, Olaf’s prepared. ‘The clue’s in the name ‘cake’ but don’t worry, I’ve had people like you in before.’
I shan’t spoil his imaginative punchlines by repeating them. The beauty of Olaf’s comedy is the surprise. He enjoys poking fun, his humour takes us on silly flights of fancy and absurd ideas. There’s puns aplenty, too. ‘A lot of comedians shy away from shit jokes,’ he says. ‘I embrace them.’ On the way out I overheard a man exclaiming, ‘Yeah! More comedians should tell shit jokes.’ I think by ‘shit’ he mean ‘daft’ but it’s encouraging either way. No household object is left unplumbed for comedic effect as Olaf uses an egg slicer as a mini harp and orchestrates the front row into a Mexican wave of wine bottle openers. Then, as a finale, Olaf conjures up the ghost of Robert Smith from The Cure (yes, he’s aware he’s not dead) and smashes commemorative plates of 1980s prog rock bands. Because…why not?
It may not be a 100% polished show but watching Olaf at work is a refreshing change from tiring tirades about Trump and/or toxic masculinity. The closest Olaf gets to toxic is discussing farts. Long may he let rip!
Title: Olaf Falafel: There’s no i in idiot Venue: Laughing Horse @ The Pear Tree Dates: August 3 – 27 August (not 15) Time: 2.45pm Duration: 1 Hour Entry: Free (Donations) Info: www.olaffalafel.com / www.freefestival.co.uk