Comedy Partners in crime: Missing & Koch

Partners in crime: Missing & Koch

“Cue are you here?” Chester bellowed from the stage, “You must give this a shit review,” he continued unapologetically. Cue the audience continuing the chorus of laughs they sang all night, and Conrad Koch urging his friends to calm down – as he had done all night.

Yes, “friend”, not puppet. For it would be unjust to refer to Chester Missing simply as a puppet and Koch as a ventriloquist. On stage they were a quite a duo, bickering, interrupting, and insulting each other, as if the audience weren’t there. Chester played the crazy friend with the controversial, if not hilarious, ideas, while Conrad played his saner sidekick, checking him whenever he got out of line. Whether it was about Eskom, race or the things that Jacob Zuma’s head resembled, Koch, fortunately, failed to tame Chester’s tongue.

Conrad Koch performs as Chester Missing in Missing at the National Arts Festival, in Grahamstown, 08 July 2015. The puppet performed to a full house. (Photo: CuePix/Tamani Chithambo)

Conrad Koch performs as Chester Missing in Missing at the National Arts Festival, in Grahamstown, 08 July 2015. The puppet performed to a full house. (Photo: CuePix/Tamani Chithambo)

I went to the show keen to see, for the first time, the infamous puppet that is Chester Missing. To my surprise it was Koch who came out onto stage, without his puppet. He produced an energetic, entertaining and charismatic stand-up which left me, and many of the audience wondering why he even needed a puppet.

Well, that was until Chester came out. Chester was noisy, rude and politically incorrect. But more than anything, he was side-splittingly funny. He remorselessly poked fun at issues around race, to the point where I felt uncomfortable for some people in the audience – until I looked and realized they too were laughing. Chester also weighed in on the ongoing Rhodes Must Fall debate. It was amazing to see how Koch tackles the issues of the day and manages to create a coherent narartive with punch.

Besides the pre-prepared set that Koch served the audience, there was a side dish of improv comedy that really served to cement Koch’s ability as a comedian. Allan and Ester, two unsuspecting members sitting in the front row unfortunately received the wrath of Chester’s satire. Allan was being lambasted for his particularly shiny head, and Ester for her red clothing – or as Chester said, EFF attire.

Koch brought two of Chester’s friends: Hilary, the sex crazed Ostrich, and Ronnie, a monster. Neither puppet routine quite reached the heights that Koch achieves with Chester. It left me begging for Chester’s return – and on cue Chester came out again to draw to a thoroughly entertaining show that touched on race, politics, colonialism, sex, Steve Hofmeyr and, well, life in South Africa.

If there ever was a question whether Chester was Missing, Koch’s performance not only found him but successfully delivered him to the audience.

Joseph Minde
CueOnline Reporter

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