There is a probably reason why self-styled ‘German Comedy Ambassador’ Henning Wehn probably wouldn’t cut it as a stand-up in his native country. While some of his fellow countryfolk might nod their heads when he talks about the Greek bailout, I don’t think they would be too happy clapping along with a Hitler Youth song – which is precisely what Wehn asked us to do when he appeared at Lincoln Drill Hall on Saturday evening as part of the Lincoln Comedy Festival.
But this is England and we have still not shaken off that little matter of The War. Indeed, Henning says that his comedy routine is safe because we will always teach future generations about ‘those 12 years’ when Hitler was in power. He tells us that when he performed at Comedy 4 Kids and asks the youngsters what they know about Germany, one little girl pipes up, ‘naughty Hitler’.
Stereotypes abound in Wehn’s routine (efficient, hard-working Germans versus drunken, kebab-eating Brits) but he is also not afraid to be political and his observations are extremely astute. In one memorable part of the show, he describes his utter bemusement at performing at a Jongleur’s comedy club to some blokes on a stag do dressed as Smurfs, women on a hen do and someone celebrating their birthday surrounded by balloons. Everybody else is just there because ‘Tracy from HR’ told them to be.
With Wehn, nothing is off limits, whether it’s the Pope, Hitler or the rise of China. At times he is very politically incorrect – not in a Bernard Manning sort of way but anyone expecting Michael McIntyre will be in for a shock. But it’s clear this is all tongue in cheek and despite his claims of Teutonic superiority (ironic of course), he is also brilliantly self-deprecating; something that sits well with us Brits.
Henning Wehn is currently touring his No Surrender show. For details click here.