Swedes love it when you hold up the mirror

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Swedes love it when you hold up the mirror

As he gets set to head out on another tour, stand-up comic Al Pitcher, a UK-born Kiwi who was voted Sweden's funniest man in 2011, explains why he turned to stand-up comedy in Sweden and what it's like to perform for Swedes.


Why stand-up comedy in Sverige, you ask?

From about the age of 12, all I wanted to be was a horse-racing commentator. At the age of 16, I was told by my career advisor at school that I didn't have the intelligence for that career.

I accepted it easily enough at the time but later in life I saw two horses running together and I thought: Shit, I can see the differences in them, I DO have the intelligence.

But in all honesty I didn't plan to be on a stand-up comedy tour doing shows in Ånge or Kiruna in the freezing cold of Sverige, so isn't life awesome?

The great thing about taking the show to the smaller towns in Sverige is that the show becomes really the only thing that's happening in that place...probably ever when it comes to some towns.

RELATED VIDEO: See Al Pitcher take on The Local Lockdown

And the audiences are superb.

I did a show in Färila, a tiny town in central Sweden, when all of a sudden with one minute to go, a woman stands up in the second row and says "carry on, I'll be back" and runs out of the theatre. The audience gives me a kind of a "do what she says" look, creating chaos in my mind.

I had a bit of fun guessing where she'd gone and then she runs back in holding a falukorv above her head, like a triumphant meat Olympian. Apparently she had just remembered that she had to give me the locally made sausage and didn't want to forget it.

The best part for me was when she told the rest of the audience that she had waved down the local taxi driver (they only have one) by wielding the giant korv at him.

I believe when a comedian chats with an audience it makes the show unique and gives it a feeling it's for them and them only. That's why in the second half of the Påtår tour shows, I show photos of my day in their respective towns. I don't just turn up ten minutes before showtime - I get the earliest train (insert SJ joke here) or plane and I get to the city so I can capture an outsider's view of where they live.

It's good to say something like "the weird waterfall needs work" but if you show a photo of the weird waterfall on a big screen then the crowd loves it - they see the effort and the spontaneity from that very day.

Just like loads of the readers on The Local, I see the differences, the traditions, the quirks of this place...and if you can hold up a mirror to Swedes they love it.

And the language difference has never really been an issue at all, I just cut out any slang from my show, but it's not always smooth sailing. In Umeå once, the woman organizing the fika for the break asked me if my show "involved any intercourse".

I think she meant interval. But you never know with these Swedes...

Al Pitcher

Follow Al Pitcher on Twitter here

Al Pitcher and his Påtår tour has only ten dates left, it goes to Luleå, Norrköping, Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö. Get your tickets here.


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