18 September 2012 | BRUCE DENNILL
For his new one-man show White Whine, musical comedian Deep Fried Man, real name Daniel Friedman, has chosen to focus on the angst that comes with having too much money and not enough perspective.
It’s not exclusively a white thing, but proclaiming on the attitudes of race groups other than your own remains a tricky business, so Friedman sticking with what he is most familiar with makes sense.
The comedian is performing his show at the Old Mutual Theatre On The Square in Sandton, so there’s a pleasant ironic edge to his likely audience also being the brunt of his jokes.
And walking around the Sandton City shopping mall reveals that, if you place yourself in the mindset of the nameless victims of Friedman’s wit, it’s easy to sound as callously superficial (or massively naïve) as they do.
Having been unable to park as close to the entrance as disabled drivers, even though some of them can run 100m in 10.4 seconds, and knowing that the fee payable on exiting remains the same, Friedman is less than thrilled with local escalator etiquette.
“In London, there’s this strict thing about standing on one side if you’re not moving, so that those in a hurry can get past,” he says.
“Here, there’s this guy with a hand on each rail, standing still. Don’t mince in the middle, dude.”
Friedman orders a cup of tea to go, and then promptly spills a mouthful on his shirt as the supposedly sealable lid wobbles off as he raises the cup to his mouth.
“Portable tea and the substandard containers it comes in – how are we supposed to live like this?” he says.
“You’d never have this problem at Woolworths, but now we have to boycott it.”
That comment prompts a detour into Woolworths, which is devoid of pale-skinned figures.
Unless you count the mannequins – those are multi-racial.
“How do they decide which mannequins get dressed in which clothes?” muses Friedman, noting that the section of the store where suits are on display features only “black diamonds”.
“You know, there are some limitations with the theme for this show,” he admits.
“It’s more difficult to eavesdrop on white people, because they generally don’t talk very loudly. And when you can hear them, they don’t talk sense.
For example, my girlfriend and I had our house broken into, but comments about that by white people were things like, ‘That’s because you live in Orange Grove.’ Who do they blame when their complex in Rivonia gets robbed?”
A discussion with a black staff member in a camping shop reveals that the bulk of their customers are white because, according to the person, “I have to hike just to find transport when I visit my grandmother in the rural areas, and staying in her house is like camping. There’s no electricity.”
“So it’s only whites that have to pay to camp?” responds Friedman, with a wink.
Another moment of perspective arrives moments later, as a group of teenagers – two white guys, one with an Indian girlfriend one with a black girlfriend – wander by, deep in conversation.
“These guys are screwing up my demographics,” scowls Friedman.
“People aren’t clichéd enough anymore.”
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