Rick Kiesewetter: Chink

Identity is a complicated matter for Rick Kiesewetter; not least because, as he points out from the start, his Asian face doesn't match most people's expectations of his adoptive father's German surname. But his background is more complicated still, as he outlines having an adoptive Italian mother and an upbringing in small-town America. If you then add the many years he has lived in the UK, including time in Manchester and London, and his marriage to a French woman... Well, no wonder his accent can be difficult to place, capable of shifting across oceans, national borders and London travel zones in a single sentence.

So you'd think that Kiesewetter would either be (a) confused or (b) possess a rich, uniquely personal seam of material from which to hone his act. It's therefore slightly disappointing that his set is both. Yes, there are some pretty funny and thought-provoking observations about him growing up as a Bruce Springsteen-singing redneck kid, or about his determination to reinvent himself when he first came to the UK, overcompensating by trying to get what he thought sounded particularly English-sounding words into any conversation. There must surely be more comedy gold to mine from his participation in the 1990s 'physical' gameshow Gladiators. Yet Kiesewetter opts to spend some of his time talking about his inability to grow any body hair except round his genitals and about his confusion at street signs in London outlining when he can –and can't– park. Such routines can't help feel a tad generic compared to his more personal material.

Kiesewetter is an amiable performer, though; smartly dressed and disgracefully far too young-looking given he's no spring chicken. There's certainly something to be said for stand-ups having had a life before getting on the comedy circuit. Some of his anecdotes have genuine heart too, such as his tale of a geriatric Parisian dog finding a new lease of life in the countryside; others, though (such as his riff on name-dropping more famous comedians) just fall a bit flat. All told, this is an enjoyable enough hour, but as his soccer-punch of a conclusion proves, his most powerful material is quite definitely rooted in the comedy that sheds some light on his personal, multi-national heritage.

Reviews by Paul F Cockburn

Multiple Venues

Nests

★★★
Dundee Rep Theatre / Macrobert Arts Centre

The Yellow on the Broom

★★★
Underbelly, Bristo Square

Tom Neenan: It's Always Infinity

★★★★
Assembly George Square Studios

Police Cops in Space

★★★★★
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre

Rik Carranza: Still a Fan

★★★★
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre

Marmite

★★★★

Performances

The Blurb

Rick Kiesewetter: Chink. Rick is an Asian American comic, adopted at age three and raised in New Jersey. He's spent the last 20 years living in the UK. These are his jokes and observations.