Mark Ritchie takes a long look at some of the most popular comedy stars currently appearing on the holiday Island of Tenerife
The Rum-Pot cabaret bar Costa Adeje
He’s Gay, He’s bent- His arse is up for rent….Billy Porter! These are the lines from the opening musical ditty, as the Max Miller of Campness stepped on stage in front of a packed house at The Rum Pot.
From there onwards, the larger than life Porter ploughs a rich and vibrant comedy furrow, examining subjects such as growing up gay in Glasgow and all that goes with this mode of living. Particularly fertile ground seemed to have been stumbled upon, when this gregarious and wise cracking King of camp revealed his attempts at taking out girls, before coming out as gay.
Porter’s descriptive powers know no bounds, eschewing the homosexual label, with its suggestion of sincerity and accuracy. Instead this loud-suited Tenerife comedy icon refers to himself, rather more comically as a vagina decliner.
‘In England you would call me gay, but I am a poof’, declares this most expansive of comedy entertainers, who is clearly no shrinking violet and, as is the case with most camp comedians, no threat to an audience who laugh along at the stereo-types and bathe in the warmth of a quite loveable show business comedy persona.
The best compliment I could pay Mr Porter is that he reminds me of no-one else in show business and that really is quite an attribute these days.
As for the venue, the Rum-Pot does not feature a full evening of cabaret entertainment. Instead, when the cabaret is over, it’s time for the dreaded k-word. Generally speaking, the karaoke folk are a very different brand of punters to cabaret and/or comedy fans, so it was time to move on.
Billy Porter also appears weekly at other venues, such as The Star Bar on the Costa Adeje, where like The Rum Pot, the place packs out quickly when Porter is around.
An enormous draw in Tenerife, Billy Porter’s quite incredibly OTT performance does exactly what it says on a highly coloured and utterly and unashamedly camp tin.
Brahms and Lizst cabaret bar Playa De Las Americas
Just as his name suggests George King is surely comedy royalty within the mainstream sector of the UK Cabaret scene. Nowadays this telly star of yesteryear is clearly in demand in Tenerife and splits his time between his UK home and a place in the Canary isles sun.
I would imagine that King’s reputation is based on being audience friendly and the ability to work squeaky clean. His audience seems to relax in his cosy and almost conspiratorial style and the line of comedy material is familiar and comfortable.
Despite the cockney rhyming slang name of the venue, The Brahms and Lizst is a lovely atmospheric cabaret room, right in the heart of downtown Playa De Las Americas. Irish crooner Michael Graham and comedy impressionist Spencer Robson completed an impressive line-up for Kings weekly appearances
George King is a comedy craftsman, who has probably forgotten more about how to craft a stand-up comedy show, than many of todays shout and charge around style of comedians. Long may there be a King on Tenerife, as George charms the UK holiday-makers into his company night after night.
George King can also be seen at The Pheasant Plucker in Costa Adeje every week, as is the case with many live entertainment venues, The Pheasant Plucker morphs into a karaoke bar, once the nightly cabaret has finished. This venue can be found close to the Iberostar Bouganville Hotel and is a close neighbour of both The Star Bar and The Theatre Bar.
Antony Scott as Billy Connolly
The Sky-bar Puerto Colon
Tribute comedians are few and far between and, in my view, some fall wide of the mark in terms of creating and capturing the essence of the performer, whose comedy talents they are impersonating.
Antony Scott is a man of many talents. He works on cruise-ships where Scott works in a completely different act, using a separate stage name. A resident of Tenerife now, his widely known and admired Billy Connolly tribute act is a winner with the holiday-makers.
On the night I saw him, things didn’t get off to the brightest of starts, due to unnecessary distractions in the Sky Bar, which were soon dealt with by the ultra-efficient staff. Once into his stride, Scott was soon being windswept and interesting, as themes familiar to fans of the Big Yin were soon explored.
A sight gag with a guitar was hilarious, but the real puzzle was why some inebriated holidaying parents had decided to sit their small children right at the front. The presence of the little sleepy people, who were probably well ready for bed ,after a day of fun on the beach, may have shackled some adult comedians. But a Billy Connolly tribute act who doesn’t swear isn’t really doing the job and Scott let them have it, with both comedic barrels.
I hear that a spot at next year’s Edinburgh Fringe could be on the cards, but obviously not in the guise of Billy Connolly. Coals to Newcastle would surely spring to mind, so hopefully we’ll be able to see what this versatile comedy performer manages to come with next.
The Comedy Elvis
St Eugen’s cabaret bar
Take a rhinestone suited Elvis lookey-likey and add homespun words of wisdom and some careful working of an audience and here we have a huge Tenerife comedy attraction.
The Comedy Elvis is in demand all over the Island and is, in short a very good idea.
Almost impossible to write a review on, due to the off-beat nature of the material and the unique line in crowd approach, this version of Elvis should really be seen by as many of the stunningly awful Elvis tribute acts I have sat through and endured over the years.
I have a feeling that the genesis of this comedy creation could be a tongue in cheek reaction, possibly to watching and absorbing the worst and most unintentionally funny Elvis clones and clowns out there in tribute-land. Maybe someone should strap the worst of the Elvis acts into their seat and make them watch the Comedy Elvis. Perhaps some then might discern an idea of what they themselves look like on stage.