Pierre Novellie: You're Expected to Care (4 stars)

This article is from 2019

Pierre Novellie: You're Expected to Care

credit: Matt Stronge

Unique and authoritative stand-up that isn't afraid to offend

Hailing from South Africa, Pierre Novellie has been living in the UK for most of his life, but he still feels culturally different. His set begins with observations on what he understands least about British life: the incessant need to make all our food wet. This is clean, clever material, and relentlessly funny. But if you're expecting the show to continue in the same vein, you'd be mistaken. It quickly takes a much darker turn, as he moves to subjects that we're all supposed to care about, rightly or wrongly.

Covering everything from Michael Jackson to ISIS, and from the morality of documentaries to the impending porn laws, Novellie takes a fresh look at his topics. His angles are unexpected and looking at well-worn areas in a new light has the audience in stitches. Because he obsessively researches (and yes, he knows what his internet search history must look like), some of the jokes fly above the crowd's head, and a few gags tow the thin line between funny and offensive.

Pierre Novellie is a unique talent. His material is thoroughly worked out and very funny, and although he gives off the air of your drollest university lecturer, the material wouldn't quite work without an air of authority and pomposity.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug, 7.15pm, £10.50–£12 (£9–£10.50).

Pierre Novellie: You're Expected to Care

  • 4 stars

Pierre Novellie Existing is exhausting. Endless empathy and engagement is expected of everyone. You've got to be aware of all the complicated, horrific things in the world, don't you? Even if they're absolutely nothing to do with you? The only thing worse than trying is not trying, and vice-versa. Watch award-winning…