Otiz gives magical twist to stand-up at comedy club

Thurrock Gazette: Comedian - Otiz Cannelloni Comedian - Otiz Cannelloni

IF you’re looking for political spiel and razor sharp observations, you won’t find them at Three Flying Ducks comedy club next week.

You will find good old-fashioned straight out jokes, blended with a whimsical, surrealist approach that mixes magic and humour when Otiz Cannelloni comes to the Leigh club.

The comedian, real name John Korn, will bring his unique act to the club on Thursday.

“I do minimalist magic,” says John. “The accent is on the comedy. I’m not really a magician, but don’t tell anybody that.

“I go from the comedy aspect of that, I do quite a bit of stand-up as well, then put a few props in throughout the act to give the illusion of magic.”

Originally a drama teacher, John’s been a stalwart of the comedy circuit for around 30 years, but he hasn’t lost his flair for dramatic comedy and is far from the one man and a mic that you often see at comedy clubs.

He says: “It stands out from just stand-up because that’s usually just one bloke talking, although there’s nothing wrong with that of course.

“I get a number of people saying thank God for just jokes, rather than trying to make some huge point of going on at great length about something.

“I just try and do light-hearted jokes that people can enjoy.”

The idea of using magic to illuminate his humour came out of another act which saw him employing mime – but he decided it was just a tad too active and opted for something less physical.

“I used to do a number of different acts,” he explains. “Double acts, triple acts. I used to do a full-body mime act, but I used to come offstage soaking wet with sweat, so I thought I had to try to do something a little bit slower. I dabbled in magic a bit and that was that.

“I thought this is a good idea for comedy. It’s a bit Tommy Cooperish really. I built a couple of tricks and worked around that really.”

John originally got into comedy as a writer, not a performer, despite his love of being onstage. It was only when he felt his commissioned work was pushing his best jokes to one side that he decided to take on the challenge of performing them himself.

He says: “I used to go down the Comedy Store in its very early days, with Alexei Sayle and people like that, and I was always into performing.

“I was writing my own scripts at the time and working on trying to get into things like the Two Ronnies.

“It was just another avenue really. I always thought they were saving the best scripts back. They weren’t showing my sense of humour. I thought if they won’t do them, I’ll do them and that proved successful.”

He’s not exactly sure where he got this passion for adding in the extra physical and visual dimension to his act, but credits black and white films with some of the inspiration.

“I used to enjoy black and white films,” he explains. “Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin and things like that. Perhaps it’s that. I’m more of an actor, than straight stand-up.”

And with a long career on the circuit, it’s certainly proved successful, with John being named as something of a comedian’s comedian. When he’s onstage the dressing rooms empty and other acts on the bill can be seen lurking at the back to catch his set.

It’s not just the UK where it goes down a storm either. Thanks to the visual aspect, he’s managed successes abroad and has just got back from a few dates in Hong Kong.

He says: “You do get a lot of ex-pats and second generation English born there, so there’s a bit of that, but you also get quite a cross section in the audience as well.

“Luckily, I’ve got quite a visual act, which helps.”

John will be supported on the night by Joseph Wilson – whose energetic, physical act shows off his talents as both a stand-up and impressionist.

Otiz Cannelloni, Three Flying Ducks, at the Ship, New Road, Old Leigh. January 26, 8pm, £8 in advance or £10 on the door. Tickets from the Book Inn, Broadway West, Leigh or 2ducksandadrake@gmail.com

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