When you think of Belgian stand-up, the names Guillermo Guiz, Fanny Ruwet or Laura Laune might automatically spring to mind. But what about some homegrown talent? The Charleroi Metropolitan Area is witnessing a plethora of shows springing up, showcasing increasing numbers of comedians with a sharp, often offbeat and always hilarious tone. Names to watch out for include Tamara Payne, Sum and Damien Gillard. Looking for a side-splitting way of supporting the local arts scene? Look no further!
These Carolinian comedians are proving a hit
In addition to being famous for its legendary down to earth attitude, the Charleroi Metropolitan Area has always been a breeding ground for creativity, and extremely varied at that. Alongside comic strip authors, musicians, writers and other comedians, the region has seen the birth of several comedians with a highly distinctive brand; blending self-mockery, irony and the absurd to perfection.
One of these burgeoning talents is Damien Gillard, an actor, author and musician in his spare time, who, after a long career in dubbing, joined the set of Le Grand Cactus a few years ago. Alongside his sidekick Tamara Payne – alias Stacy Star to her friends, a leading light in local comedy; this Charleroi native plays Fabrizio de Charleroi, the most hilarious member of the travelling show.
If that’s your thing, don’t miss out on Sum either: a father, civil servant and massive football fan who, after each day at work, delivers punchlines that’ll leave you in stitches.
And for those who like to poke fun at the hassles of everyday life, the shows of Kostia, a local comedian who takes us into his daily life as a modern man and father, with all the adventures that ensue, were written for you.
Names and places to know in the stand-up world
Of course, our comedians wouldn’t have audiences if it weren’t for the venues, theatres and cultural centres that support and encourage them. Comédie Centrale located in the city centre, is one of the leading venues on the local scene. The theatre puts together a programme with only one aim in mind: keeping people laughing. In addition to promoting local talent, Comédie Centrale also welcomes comedians from all four corners of Belgium: in the coming months, you can go and see Sarah Grosjean from Liège or Florence Mendez from Brussels.
Striking a different note, the Punch Comedy Club, a veritable travelling troupe, criss-crosses Hainaut to meet its fans. Sometimes at the Cultural Centre in Chapelle-lez-Herlaimont, sometimes at La Ruche Théâtre Royal, the team works hand in hand with local comedians and allows young talents, such as Félicien Argentino, to take the spotlight. With Nathan Drappa at the helm, the club is set to receive a visit from Edgar Kosma, comedian and author of the successful comic strip “Le Belge”, four volumes of which have been published by Delcourt!
As well as lightening the mood, laughter is excellent for our physical health: it relieves stress, wards off depression and boosts the immune system. So, if you need a bit of a lift in these grey and rainy times, you know what to do: visit one of the many bars, theatres and other cultural hotspots in our beautiful region and bask in the work of our finest comics! We promise you won’t regret it.