Stand Up For Stockholm-
words by Christoffer Danielsson / firstname.lastname@example.org
Before you even look to find your seat upon entering the Globe arena you are awestruck by the sheer scope of the room you find yourself in. Even ”room” seems unfair, ”space” would be more acurate. In that sense, the stand-up show ”Stand Up for Stockholm” already has a lead on winning its audience over. Not that it’s needed, as the material that is brought up is both topical, insightful and, as is required, hilarious. The show’s host, however, comedian Shima Niavarani, is the weak link in the program. I got the feeling that she was milking her being on stage in the biggest venue in Sweden as much as possible. Hopefully the silence during her non-singing parts (when she performed a faithful and powerful snippet of Celine Dion’s ”I’m Your Lady” the whole space was refreshed) spoke to her. The fact remains, however, that she was there as both host and comedian, two jobs that are difficult to juggle, since the latter’s quips often overtake the former’s duties. David Sundin also performed, and his act, consisting of reading out the general rules regarding snapping photographs and other regulations, was performed in the manner of a tired office worker and was not what the show needed for an opening act. Killing two birds with one stone is fine but it would have been wise to have used a bigger stone in this case, as it wasn’t over quickly enough.
Magnus Betnér may share David’s apparent lack of gusto but thankfully his material is razor sharp, as he tackles the darkest news with serene and pointed arguments. David Betnér is the kind of man that gives you the feeling that he would have made a good politician if he wasn’t so incredibly funny.
Comedy has always had the ability to be vey political, and I believe this fact escaped no one as Bianca and Tiffany Kronlöf took the stage with their mixture of aggressive songs and humanistic observations. The sister duo left a big chunk of the audience silent and several people decided they needed some air and rose from their seats as the act got more blue. This, of course, only fuels the point that the sister’s were already getting across: that feminism is still just ”a thing” as opposed to an established reality. Hopefully their catchy song ”Så Jävla PK!” (”So Fucking PC!”) will take off and allow the idea of feminism to evolve into an ideal.
As the main attraction, international super-comedian Eddie Izzard is very much a constant presence in the show as he’s constantly alluded to by his comedy colleagues. A feeling of glee pervades the space as Jonas Gardell, the Swedish LGBT comedian and writer, swoons over the English guest of honour and revels in both his and the audience’s respect for and appreciation of him. Gardell’s energy washes over the audience and the faces he make accentuate his jokes and stand in sharp contrast to the message of acceptance he ultimately sends out. All in all I can only say that I was lucky enough to have two empty seats next to me, so there was no need for me to contain my explosions of laughter during Gardell’s performance. Izzard’s presence is felt again as the very first words that come out of Henrik Schyffert’s mouth consists of complaints that he is stressed out about the fact that he’s only gotten twenty minutes to do his material whereas Izzard has gotten an hour. Schyffert’s act is mostly observations that are only really applicable to people who have lived long enough to know the bitter aftertaste of adulthood, and thus the younger audience members are left in the dark. Though to claim that Schyffert has ever catered to the below-teen demographic would be futile. In the end he, like his peers, returns to the topic of Eddie Izzard and Schyffert mentions how the Englishman’s whip is perpetually hovering over them all. Keep in mind that Schyffert also played a big part in forming Killinggänget, Sweden’s answer to Monty Python, so he’s no slouch when it comes to being funny; his hatred of the man is, after all, thinly veiled respect.
Speaking of Monty Python, when I was eight I saw ”And Now for Something Completely Different”, a movie that compiled new iterations of some of the team’s best sketches and was intended to break them into the American market. The movie, unlike the TV-show, was recorded without a studio audience, hence there were no laughs save for the ones the viewers produced themselves. In this way the American public and myself, was presented with the Beatles of comedy in a stripped and pure fashion, having to judge for ourselves what was fun and what wasn’t.
Now, of course, when the Pythons perform it’s like watching the Stones or Bruce Springsteen: more often than not you can expect very little new material, but that’s not the issue because the majority of people want to watch and hear their old favourites.
In the same vein, when Eddie Izzard finally makes his appearance to thunderous applauds, he alludes numerous times to his old shows, like ”Circle” and ”Dressed to Kill”. Also in the same vein, the audience is delighted to be reminded of some of Izzard’s most famous routines, not least of all the scene in the Death Star canteen. I’ve seen videos of the Beatles performing and though it is difficult to fully comprehend the feeling of awe that the room must have been ripe with, I can read the admiration and love in the faces of the audience, faces not unsimilar to some of those that I saw tonight. As such, when I stood up for a standing ovation at the end, I wondered no longer why John Cleese had dubbed Eddie Izzard ”The Lost Python”.
There is no encore. The performers all gather on stage and take a few bows. They leave but not before Eddie Izzard asks the audience to stay for a selfie with him and the other comedians. And as I look out into the crowd below me, brandishing their smartphones, and looking very much like a night sky full of stars, I get the feeling that equality just took a step closer to reality.