Paco Erhard: 5-step guide to being German 2.0
Paco Erhard can sure pack out a room. Almost ten minutes after he was due to start and people were still piling in, jostling for floor space when the seating ran out. It seems the market for would-be Germans is thriving.
Aspirant Teutonics should take note, however: there are in fact no five steps to being German. The gist of this eloquent and winning hour is that national character is innate, unlearnable and, ultimately, inescapable. Riffing off the national stereotypes we all hold dear, Erhard sets out to show how we’re all abnormal to a certain degree depending on your perspective.
Jumping straight in with a Hitler joke and throwing the first of many jibes about the World Cup, he plays it close to the line. But he delivers his material with such self-effacing charm and intelligence that it never runs the risk of being genuinely offensive. It’s a little cheeky, a little mischievous – but always, without fail, tastefully true. There’s a little bit of the Izzard-style whimsy in his imagined conversations and instructions to self (‘find easy transition back to light and cuddly material’) – and he pulls off the same vibe of international inclusivity whilst remaining unfailingly astute.
His delivery was not immaculate – though this was in part due to a very tetchy microphone. It’s a delight to have him as part of the Free Fringe this year: make sure you catch him while you can, as this surely won’t be the case much longer.