by Laura Ferguson
We move on to Jazz Chat, another facet of the “Etcetera” qualifier of this show. Lucont interacts with us, showing disdain for our answers to his questions, hilariously both in the quality of our remarks and the way in which we say them; our accent a nasal cacophony by Lucont’s intonation. His derision apparent in his side-eyes and sneers, showcasing part of Lucont’s genius. His poking fun at his audience highlights his own pretentiousness, U-turning his comedy from insulting to self-deprecating. I’m laughing at his every utterance.
The second half is where the chat show portion occurs. Lucont has a guest comedian come join him on stage each night and tonight’s performer is Rhys Nicholson, someone I had not seen before. Wow. I was missing out. Nicholson does some of his stand-up and his delivery has me holding the table to support myself as I laugh so hard it almost hurts. Nicholson talks about his anxiety, dating and splitting housework with your partner. It is hysterical and I wish I could give a spoiler-free example.
However, my favourite part of the show is when Lucont and Nicholson sit down and talk. Lucont has implemented a bell system: a ding means ‘your joke was good, continue’. A ding-a-ling-a-ling means ‘for the love of baguettes and brie, move on already!’ It works to inject even more beats of comedy to an already funny format. Nicholson is dazzling in his answers to Lucont’s questions. He’s punchy, quick, and shows a cunning intelligence to which Lucont responds in kind. Nicholson acknowledges The Marcellites, commenting how under-the-thumb Lucont keeps them. “Are you guys here of your own will?” Nicholson queries, “play some fast jazz if you need help.” The band plays a note before Lucont rapidly ding-a-lings the warning bell. For all that is French and holy, it is hella funny.
“This was my favourite, it was… EVERYTHING! I loved it so much.” Those are the exuberant words of my partner as we exited the venue and headed home and I am in complete accordance with this assessment. We were bouncing around and talking way too loudly as we rehash everything we liked, howling at all we loved while walking down Cuba Street. Lucont was incredible, a fantastic performer and the idea to use his excellent stage manner to create a live chat show is genius. Nicholson was a brilliant guest, quippy and hilarious, the two had a wonderful rapport that heightened the show, maintaining its cohesion even with the change in direction. Marcel Lucont Etc.: A Chat Show was everything I could hope for in a comedy show and yet surprised me by being more. It was all the et cetera I wanted.