Marc Lottering on South Africa, stand up and social media
We catch up with the hilarious South African comedian Marc Lottering before his show in Dubai this week.
Need a laugh? Then you’ll be happy to hear that Cape Town comedian Marc Lottering is back in Dubai for a one-off performance of his #Hashtag Lottering show at Ductac on May 25 (yes, as in tomorrow night).
One of South Africa’s biggest names in comedy – after, yes, Trevor Noah – the smiley stand up was last here two years ago, and he’s now back to dole out more laughs. We nabbed him for a chat ahead of his show to talk Instagram pet peeves, keeping upbeat and that moment you realise you’ve been cropped out of a friend’s photo…
You’re such a big name in South Africa, do you change your set when you do stand up abroad?
Especially when I leave the country I try to speak slower, because people say that South Africans, we tend to talk very fast when we get excited and I try to speak about more universal issues. It took me a while to develop that, because the more nervous you get the more you go back to what feels safe for you. When I first started my career I’d go crazy in a very South African way – and it was actually the nerves talking.
I consider myself to be a storyteller. Every time I do a show I talk about what’s going on in my life and #Hashtag Lottering came about as I’m so addicted to my mobile phone, and I talk about how it all controls our lives.
What is your favourite type of social media?
I’ve fallen in love with Instagram. I use Facebook and Twitter, but I’m a very visual person and I love photography. On Instagram you can spend hours playing with filters and getting rid of double chins. I like it because people don’t say much and it’s all captured in the photograph.
But I haven’t yet reached the point of taking pictures of food. I just find it so bizarre now before anybody eats they’re taking pictures of the poached egg, the waiter… the parsley.
Have you ever ‘unfollowed’ a friend on Facebook?
[Laughs] I feel so bad because I have done that to someone and then I’ve met her on two occasions after that and I’ve realised that she doesn’t know that I’m not getting her stuff. I feel like the relationship’s gone bad; you still hug them and it just feels wrong.
What are some of your pet peeves on social media?
When people post pictures of their hand showing their ring and write ‘he asked and I said yes’. It’s very inconsiderate, because a lot of people haven’t been asked that question – or they’ve popped the question and received a ‘no’.
And there are those people who post pictures and you think, ‘but I was at that table and we took that photo together’ and you then realise they’ve cropped you out, because they look amazing – you can still see your fingers on their shoulders creeping into shot.
But what’s worse, that or a friend posting a photo where they look great but you look bad?
That is the worst. I know people who don’t care if they post something where you look like you’re halfway through your third stroke and they look like a Kardashian, partying and looking all beautiful.
It’s often said that comedians have a very serious side. Are you really as upbeat as you seem?
For decades people have been saying that behind closed doors comedians are quite dark, sad and moody. But I’m just like everybody else; if you’re feeling a bit down it’s okay to want to stay home and watch Game of Thrones.
I lost my parents eight years or so ago and I thought, ‘life is short and you don’t know what’s waiting for you around the corner’. So I decided that I’m not going to fill mine with a lot of dark hours. If I’m feeling horrible I try to assess where that’s coming from. Just be nice to yourself and other people. It doesn’t take a lot.
You’re pretty open in your stand up. Is there anything that’s out of bounds?
I’ve discovered that it’s how you treat an issue. When it comes to no-go areas, I trust the audience to convey to me what’s okay in terms of their response – or lack of response. But I generally find that I can tackle any topic, it just depends on the punch line.
When my dad had brain cancer I remember talking about that on stage, and talking about something like that you can feel everybody’s going ‘don’t go there’, but my story had a great punch that went completely in the other direction.
Also, I write my material being mindful of the audience. I’ve always been sensitive in my life and that filters through to my work. I would detest to be driving home and know that I’ve hurt people. It simply does not sit well with me.
Everyone knows about Trevor Noah, so which other other South African comedians should we look for?
There are great comedians here. I often work with Tumi Morake, who’s just fantastic. I have a lot of fun when I’m on tour with her. There’s a guy called John Vlismas, who’s just wild and you don’t want to watch him with your parents sitting next to you.
There are lots of younger comedians as well. I can tell you this much, there’s enough going on here to keep people on their toes, you can’t rest on your laurels.
Marc Lottering is playing at Ductac at Mall Of The Emirates tomorrow night, get your tickets at ductac.org