Marcel Lucont Etc: A Chat Show

With his bare feet, eternal glass of red wine and implausibly heavy accent, Marcel Lucont is not one to let his French heritage go unacknowledged. Choosing specifically the image of the cultured, condescending Frenchman of whom we have been so afraid for the last half-century, he declares that ‘Zere is a myth that we hate you English. We do not hate you. We choose largely to ignore you.’ With such a useful persona, one might think he would be tempted to rely on it entirely. No such worries, however, as the skilful wordplay of his ‘handbook for the sex-addict’ and wry badinage with his audience and guests would work excellently in a bland English accent. Lucont’s Gallic cadences are just a lovely adornment.The chat-show format is a new one on Lucont, and involves him sacrificing a large proportion of his set to conversation with a rolling complement of guest comics. Not that this is much of a sacrifice: his guests seem almost there to give him something to riff off, and his extemporary comments, put-downs delivered with respectful, but crushing timing. He also has to hand a bell, to hurry his guests along when they bore him.This he used liberally on his first guest, Josh Howie, albeit undeservedly. Howie’s show is called ‘Josh Howie is a Dick’, and a considerable portion of their chat revolved around the difference between dicks and arseholes, and the culturally divergent uses of terms for genitals on either side of the channel. Howie came, unfortunately, with prepared material, which, broken up by Lucont’s frequent interruptions, did not transmit as well as it might. He won us back completely, though, when it came to the mandatory party trick. Having chosen yo-yo, he was forced to use a roll of gaffer-tape, and performed tricks like ‘round the world’ and ‘cat’s cradle’ with real aplomb.Zoe Lyons (‘Clownbusting’) adjusted better to the discursive style, and she and Lucont produced some excellent off-the-cuff dialogue. I especially enjoyed the material on the isle of Lesbos and related topics. She loses points, however, for only making twelve seconds in the required staring contest, against Howie’s fifteen. Judge that how you will.

The Blurb

France's award-winning raconteur interviews different guests every night in his own unique style. Expect top festival names, good wine and bawdy chat. ‘Fresh, accessible, hilarious’ (Guardian), ‘Wonderful French wit’ **** (Time Out). Line-ups: www.marcellucont.com