PETER TROMP spoke to local comedy legend MARK BANKS, who will star in ‘Mass Hysteria’, the new comedy showcase that also features the likes of Marc Lottering, Casper de Vries and John Vlismas. It will show at the Grand Arena on Saturday July 28 at 8pm.
You’ve been in the comedy game longer than almost anyone else, and certainly longer than your ‘Mass Hysteria’ cohorts. Does this mean you are treated with the reverence of an elder statesman, much like Madiba?
Not really. I always get love and warmth, but secretly I know when they all get together they want to steal my act and sell it to tourists.
Why did you decide to be a part of ‘Mass Hysteria’?
I was “conscripted” by the Namibian Comedy Board to do this show at Grand West as pay-back for being very rude to Marc Lottering’s brother once at the ice rink.
Your portfolio is quite the mouthful: Minister of Environment, Bungalows, Pest Control and Barcodes. What does that entail exactly?
It’s all a front for tenders for friends, really. Corruption: Comedy corruption is bigger than a lot of people think. Comedy police brutality: Punchlines. Knock ’em dead. It’s more brutal than you thought! And of course the ongoing tender battle for meat tenderizer tenders….especially in the comedy perlemoen business.
As the show is called ‘Mass Hysteria’, I guess it’s only fair to ask, what is the most hysterical you’ve ever been?
Mass hysteria was given to us by Hermanus Tutu, Des’s nephew’s neighbour who does all the church merchandising, sales and car-boot services. I jumped off the Good Hope Centre once before it was built into the Moullie Point putt-putt course, which was in fact an early attempt at the Waterfront. The Castle was the first mall, don’t forget!
‘Mass Hysteria’ has been conceived with the tense national and local political landscape in mind. Why is it important for people to laugh when there is so much negativity at the moment in politics?
So the people in uniform don’t win.
Why do politicians make for such easy comedic targets?
Because of the way they look at a non-taxpaying comedy audience.
Who are your comedy heroes, and which comics would you say influenced you directly?
My comedy hero is whoever is currently making me larf. Gwede Mantashe at the moment.
What has it been like sharing a stage with so many talented comics?
Don’t ever see them. They’ve usually gone when I get there and go when I arrive. It’s a very strange relationship. I’ve actually met very few of them. What are they like?
What can Capetonians expect from you next?
I will be doing a lot of very dangerous figure skating in the finale and this year will be doing the comedy Olympic Slalom, which hasn’t been done successfully since the Duchess Overalls Spring Ball Pageant of 1957.
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Ticket prices range from R140 to R165.