Paco Erhard

By Megan Blackwell

Artist: Paco Erhard

Date/Venue: Tuesday May 9th - 12th, 2017 - Herald Theatre, Auckland

The International Comedy Festival is a vital chance for our local talent to shine, but also it’s a chance to see high caliber international acts bring their shows down under. German comedian, Paco Erhard, is definitely one of those international treats.

It felt like we were in for a good time as he came on stage to German metal blearing out the speakers. Straight off the bat Erhard endeared himself to the audience by cheekily poking fun at our flag referendum he observed on his last visit. He also acknowledged how he comes across as quite unGerman. In less than 5 minutes the show was proving to be good fun - an unGerman German telling us how to be German to a New Zealand audience made up of a surprising number of Germans.

With New Zealand being part of the Commonwealth we naturally have a particularly British flavour to our views, culture and sense of humour. I think this is what made Erhard’s European perspective and Brit jokes a refreshing change of pace. He spoke about his 16 years of travelling abroad to the likes of Spain, Italy, and USA. From his travels Erhard’s cultivated an optimistic view of the world and the stereotypes it revolves around. As result of his worldly experiences he’s boiled down the German identity to its essence - order, efficiency & guilt.

Throughout the show Erhard touched on all the self-flagellating and disparaging aspects of the collective German psyche. The show as a whole is very European centric, some content hit home more with the German and British members of the audience. But Erhard did make some effort to reel things in when he started to lose the rest of us by drawing on more relatable references. Granted, I think a couple of soccer World Cup jokes still went over my head.

If I had to summarise what kind of experience Paco Erhard’s show was like it would be something to the tune of this: When I think of Germany today the thing in the forefront of my mind is Jan Böhmermann’s video e Deutsch... and then I’m giggling because in the back of my mind is Dylan Moran uttering “Hitler, Hitler, Hitler, Hitler.” Erhard covers both ends of this German perception spectrum and reminds us it’s ok to laugh at ourselves and each other.