I forget where comic duo Damn Danes are from, but their comedy is in any case a welcome presence at this year’s Fringe. Dry, sardonic and self-deprecating, it is the kind of humour that appeals the world over.
The show is divided between the disparate stand-up stylings of Sophie Hagen and Valdemar Pustelnik: she a more awkward comedy presence, he a little surer of himself, perhaps a little more at ease with the language. After a somewhat bumpy start, Hagen soon eases into her routine. The awkwardness and fumbled English become only an endearing aspect of the act. She is more than willing to intimate details of her dating history, her relationship with a particular roommate and her experience with local ‘chubby-chasers’, doing so in a charming and witty manner. The atmosphere of the Counting House, in which one can sit at ease with a drink, is the ideal location for the casual and forthcoming nature of her comedy. Though her bit was not watertight, she earned the respect of the small but good-natured audience, compelled by this clearly affable individual to laugh along. And to achieve that, I reckon, is half the battle.
Pustelnik is undoubtedly the more natural of the two, but this may be a matter of age and experience. Covering the issues that come with hugging, attractive neighbours and a sheep’s ability to recognise only fifty-one other sheep, he gets to the heart of modern life’s greatest quandaries. Like Hagen, I imagine that at the end of each show he would only need to ask an audience, who now felt like they’ve been his friends for years, to help him ‘lift a horse’, as it were.
In light of the personable nature of the two comedians, there was some degree of generosity: some of the jokes would have fallen flat if not executed by such a delightful pair, and though there were plenty of laughs to be had, no one left with sides splitting. Still, Damn Danes are only around for the first week of the Fringe, and you’d be silly not to go along and get to know them while they’re here.