De King of comedy

IF you have never seen Tony de King on stage, then you have truly missed out, as this Irish comedian with a Mancunian accent had his audience rolling in the aisles at the Lions’ hosted show, held at Port Alfred High School on Tuesday.

MAN OF MANY TALENTS: Tony de King, in his Rod Stewart guise, gave a great performance at the Lions’ hosted show, held at Port Alfred High School hall on Tuesday evening Picture: ROB KNOWLES

De King began the show dressed as Scottish pop singer Rod Stewart, and sang Do You Think I’m Sexy as well as Forever Young, and then began his observational comedy routine that had his audience in stitches as he explained his Roman Catholic upbringing in Ireland and later, his move to England. De King also spoke of his experiences with the Afrikaans language, and how meaning can be confused when translating between Afrikaans and English.

“I’ve been in the business [show business] for 50 years now,” De King told the audience. He arrived in South Africa in 1984, having already built up a reputation as a top-class comedian in Europe and even further afield, and had not meant to stay for an extended period. However, he met his wife, Nicola, in South Africa and, 33 years later, he has truly settled in Mzansi.

“The most beautiful women in the world come from South Africa,” he told the audience, to a round of applause.

Although De King is not a “blue” comedian, his act is better suited to an adult audience, particularly when he talks about genitalia, and the Afrikaans equivalents of English words and phrases. His style is very personal and participative, and De King often walks through the audience to get them involved in his comedy.

But De King is also an accomplished guitarist and tribute artist as well as a comedian. He uses backing tracks to assist, but also plays songs live with just his guitar for accompaniment.

One of his stock gags is to ask those sitting at tables to shout out a colour, and he uses this in a song. For example, if the colour called out was blue, the song might be Elvis Presley’s Blue Christmas. Red could be Red, Red Wine by UB40 and so forth. On Tuesday evening one of the colours called out was magenta, and De King’s song was Some Magenta Evening (Some Enchanted Evening from the musical South Pacific).

De King also has a bit of fun with the audience by asking them questions about themselves. One man he spoke to said he drove a Land Rover. Quick as a flash, De King said, “oh, that’s the car with the heated rear window, to keep your hands warm when you push it to the garage to get fixed”.

After a longer than expected first half of the show, De King reappeared as Elvis Presley, and took the audience through a number of scenarios where Elvis was Chinese, Indian and even an Irish Elvis where he picked up his bell-bottomed pants and did a quick river dance.

If you get an opportunity to see this seasoned professional live, do it. You won’t regret you did.

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