There was a mixed reaction to Olaf Bridge’s stand-up routine at the 2013 Harold International Arts Festival. And none of it was positive.
Olaf claims to be popular in his homeland of Germany, where the ability to ruthlessly dissect humour is greatly revered.
But in Harold, audiences don’t take kindly to being threatened with PowerPoint presentations, preferring a punchline to a 13 point summary.
Herr Bridge, or ‘Doktor’ as he would like to be known, comes to our shores fresh from a successful book signing tour of his new 1,864-page comedy magnum opus.
“Bosom of the Church: an examination of double entendres in Protestant Reformation Germany post 1517″ has been such a smash hit it’s now almost impossible to find anywhere, apart from the well-stocked shelves of Bridge himself. I asked him to give me one, but he didn’t even blink.
Olaf’s performance started badly with his opening ‘pun’: ‘you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it sink’. Being met with silent confusion caused Olaf to anger, and the overhead projector was immediately switched on.
For nearly twenty minutes, Olaf explained why it was funny, pointing out that ‘lead’ can be a verb ‘to lead’, and a chemical element with the symbol ‘Pb’.
“If you are ‘leading’ a horse, as in ‘weighing it down with a heavy metal’, then ‘leading’ the animal in a ‘follow me’ sense to water is, I am thinking, not a prudent action”, quipped Olaf. “So now you are understanding just why it is so hilarious.”
Dominic Delaney was less than impressed by the show. “We’d been watching for an hour and he was only on the second pun. As I said to my wife, ‘is this supposed to be some sort of joke?”
Olaf refuses to buckle to such criticism and insisted “Whoever said ‘if you have to explain a joke, it probably isn’t funny’, clearly lacked the appropriate presentation skills.”
Tickets for Olaf’s nationwide tour are available now, and people are advised to book early, to avoid disappointment. That should give them time to read the 34-page precis that comes with each ticket, and research some of the more obscure targets of his humour.
“You must put in some study, if you hope to pass the exam at the end of my performance”, explained Olaf. “It is time you people took humour more seriously.”