"Comedy is Tragedy, Littered with Fabulous Punchlines", says Marc Lottering

Godfrey Johnson (GJ) chats to South African icon, comedian, actor, composer and international superstar, Marc Lottering (ML).  GJ: Can you g...

Godfrey Johnson (GJ) chats to South African icon, comedian, actor, composer and international superstar, Marc Lottering (ML). 

GJ: Can you give us a brief history of Marc Lottering?

ML: "International Superstar"???!!! :))))  I'll put that on my vision board. One never knows.
I was born in Cape Town 52 years ago, at the Peninsula Hospital near District Six. I grew up in Retreat on the Cape flats. My Dad was the Pastor of a Pentecostal Church, and my Mom was the Pastor's amazing wife. I have one brother, Tony who's 2 years older than me.

GJ: When we worked together I found you to be so lovely, calm and focused, what is the secret? 

ML: White wine. That, and not believing in drama and chaos. I grew up in a home that was essentially stress-free, as far as I knew.  So I generally try to live my life with as little stress as possible. I walk away from arguments. I stay away from people who enjoy making a scene. I much prefer the company of clever, happy people who are interested in making the world a better place.

GJ: What inspires you to get out of bed?

ML: I generally enjoy living, and I enjoy being around people. It feeds my creativity.  It makes me want to write and tell more stories. Covid has of course put a serious dampener on everything but in the terrific words of Maya Angelou, "still I rise".

GJ: Who are your creative influences?  

ML:  My main influences are people in general.  I write from what I observe and experience.

GJ: Who are your favourite writers?

ML: The first writer I fell in love with was Charles Dickens. I was in high school and the book was ‘A Tale of Two Cities’. I enjoyed it so much that I went on to read some of his other classics as well. I was totally intrigued by the writing style and the characters and the drama of it all. Credit here of course also needs to go to my Heathfield High school Engish teacher, Mrs Murphy. 
Subsequently it has become difficult to single out a favourite writer as so many wonderful books land in our laps from time to time, international and local. The world is alive with pumping creativity all the time.  It's the same for film, television and theatre.  Hard to single out.

GJ: In your view, how closely linked are comedy and tragedy? How do they inform each other?

ML: Comedy is Tragedy, littered with fabulous punchlines - in my humble opinion.  I find that most of my stories come from places of deep frustration and truth.  My job is then to ultimately get the audience to smile and at best, laugh out loud.  Whether I'm talking about the ridiculous price of my dad's coffin. Whether I'm talking about the annoying call centre agent who says "I'm fine thank you" even though I never asked.

GJ: When did you decide to pursue theatre/ musical theatre/ comedy?

ML: I attempted to study Law at UCT. At the same time I was working part-time as an usher at the Baxter Theatre, having the opportunity to witness amazing theatre, night after night. The idea of being on a stage and telling my own stories was a far - fetched idea but still it excited me. I left UCT and got a great job at an ad agency where I met the most inspirational people who influenced me to tell my own stories with pride and excellence. On my thirtieth birthday, recklessly encouraged by my friend and landlady at the time, Marianne Thamm, I rented a party space in the city, invited my friends, and told some tequila fueled funny stories for 40 minutes or so. The owner of the venue loved the stories and asked me to come back every night for the next two weeks and do the same thing for a paying audience.  And so that's what I did.  And people kept coming to watch. And people kept laughing.  And I never went back to the office.

GJ: How are you surviving the global pandemic?

ML: Day by Day.  I have some moments where I cannot believe that we are all living through this.  But mostly I'm ok.  I chat with friends and family daily.  We will forever share this thing. We will forever share this crazy experience.  I'm fortunate enough to be able to pick up my pen, write my stories, and take them to an online show.  So I keep busy.  And I also waste a lotta time in front of the television or scrolling through facebook and getting lost on youtube. A reminder of “normal life" I guess.  I'm doing ok.

GJ: What advice do you have to those artists who are feeling lost and despondent right now?

ML: It's hard for me to dish out advice at this time.  People are going through unimaginably hectic things. Trying to feed their families. Trying to stay afloat with zero income. In my circles, it's a case of not knowing when theatres will reopen. So my advice is essentially to people who are in a position to assist. Follow your heart and do so. Not everyone who needs your help will necessarily ask for it. Give if you can, to those who are not currently earning. Give anything you can.

GJ: What are you working on at the moment?

ML: My next online show will be livestreamed ‪on 29 August, 7.30pm‬. It's called ANOTHER ONE. Tickets will be sold via ‪www.quicket.co.za‬.

GJ: I know you have many career highlights, please name a few that made your heart skip a beat. 

ML: Very early on in my career, around 2001, I did a show called FROM THE CAPE FLATS WITH LOVE directed by David Kramer. It was my first time performing in a big theatre (The Concert Hall at the Baxter Theatre). It became a hit show and we ran for a few weeks. Bear in mind I was starting out.  I'll never forget hearing that raucous laughter in such a big venue for the first time. That time will always stand out for me.
And it was also during that time when a close friend called me to say MY BRU I WAS AT A BRAAI AND SOMEONE SAID YOUR NAME AND YOUR SURNAME!

GJ: Where can one find you on social media?

ML: Ista and twitter: @marclottering
fb: Marc Lottering

Images Courtesy of : Lindsey  Appolis



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Urban Craft Magazine: "Comedy is Tragedy, Littered with Fabulous Punchlines", says Marc Lottering
"Comedy is Tragedy, Littered with Fabulous Punchlines", says Marc Lottering
Urban Craft Magazine
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