Hands up for Henning Wehn
Hands up for Henning Wehn

HEARD the one about the German stand-up comedian who cracked jokes about sectarianism to a Scottish audience?

Henning Wehn takes every perception and stereotype going and spins them round more often than a tumble dryer tackles a weekend wash.

And he does it with great intelligence and a sharp, dry wit.

The man billed as the German comedy ambassador isn’t what you expect - and judging by his taster showcase at Society on Tuesday night, he’s just got himself a whole new batch of fans in Fife.

Comedy fans will recognise him from the Edinburgh Festival and appearances on TV, but this was his first visit to Kirkcaldy.

He did take a day out to St Andrews during his recent Festival run, but was left hankering for a stop over in the Lang Toun.

‘‘When the train came through Kirkcaldy we went past the football ground about half an hour before kick-off - and it was only then I realised Raith Rovers played here.

‘‘Had I known I could have got off and watched the game!’’

Wehn returns to Kirkcaldy for a gig at Society on October 27 - he’s on the same night in the same venue as thespian Brian Blessed and a Billy Connolly tribute act.

Seldom will you see such a diverse bill in town!

Conscious he is returning to put on a full show, Wehn worked a lot of new material into Tuesday’s showcase, and he didn’t shy away from his home country’s own history, opening with the line ‘‘Welcome to my bunker ...’’

German efficiency and Scottish sloth were two rich seams of humour he returned to with great enjoyment, he also touched on Europe’s economics and its history, and there was even a sing-a-long which he turned back round on his audience.

A decade living in London has certainly attuned him to the British humour, but he insists comedy isn’t regional.

‘‘A bigger influence is the venue,’’ he said.

‘‘Performing at a theatre you have people who have come to see you - but in a bar there may be groups, stag nights and hen nights who don’t even know you are on the bill, and they aren’t there because of you. That’s bigger than the difference between a Scottish and English audience.

‘‘But I love Edinburgh - it’s the biggest arts festival in the world.

‘‘This year I only did two weeks because I stayed in London for the Olympics so it was almost too easy - by the time I got there all the competition was mentally destroyed!’’

Comedy is now what he does for a living - he came to the UK to work in marketing initially, saw an open mic night in a pub, went in and liked what he saw.

‘‘I stumbled into it,’’ he said. ‘‘I’d been here for about 18 months and really liked what I saw.

‘‘The comedy circuit is great for self regulation - promoters know what they are doing, and start you out playing to a room above a pub in front of five people for two minutes. You’d rarely be chucked straight into a big place until you were comfortable.’’

Wehn’s fan base has grown steadily and he’s cropped up in various TV shows, including QI, and he remains a popular figure on the Fringe.

Tuesday was the first time I’d heard him on stage - and I liked what I saw. Judging by the very positive reaction, so did everyone else.

He returns as one of the 2012 festival headliners and this time will move from the side room at Society to the main stage.

If the joy of going to any festival is seeing someone new, or different, then Henning Wehn should be on your interary.

>> Henning Wehn Knows Bestest,

Society, Saturday October 27

>> Tickets £10.