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Paco Erhard stand-up show delivers cackles, howls and incessant belly laughs


One of the nine ticketed shows in the inaugural Fringe Fort Myers is a stand-up comedy act by Paco Erhad: Worst. German. Ever.

Everyone needs a good laugh some time. Paco Erhard delivers a solid hour of not just laughs. Not mere giggles and guffaws. But cackles, howls and belly laughs that had tears streaming down the cheeks of some audience members last night.

The laughs were so loud and incessant, Paco wasn’t able to complete his routine within the Fringe-imposed 60-minute time limit. But, oh dear, nobody in the audience wanted him to finish a little too early. After all, he’s in Fort Myers, not bloody old London!

Paco Erhard may be the worst German ever – although he admits to having some competition in that category – but he’s the best stand-up comic ever. “In Germany,” he deadpans and then mugs for the audience lest anyone not get his drift.

Paco first came to the United States as an exchange student some 30 years ago. After visiting 40 countries and living in seven others (including Spain, where a neighbor christened him with the surname Paco), he’s back in the U.S. of A with a worldview perspective that makes his wry observations compelling.

It’s refreshing to hear what other nations and cultures think of the American social and political landscape, which remains surprisingly positive.

While his marketing boasts that he’s ready to fix all that’s wrong with America in just 30 minutes, Paco humbly demurs. Hell, even Ron DeSantis needs eight years to fix the deep state … although the Donald says he can pull that off in a scant six months.

Paco has appeared on BBC, ABC, ARD, and many other TV and radio stations in Australia, Canada, England, Scotland, New Zealand, Ireland, and Germany. Considered “one of the best cultural comedians in the world” (Rip It Up, Australia), Paco has won the Orlando Fringe Patrons’ Pick Award and the New Producer of the Year Award in 2022, the Best Comedy Award at Victoria Fringe in 2019, Best of Fest at Vancouver Fringe 2018, and was nominated for the Fringe World Best Comedy Award in 2013. In 2012, UK newspaper The Argus named his show 5-Step Guide to Being German one of the comedy shows of the year.

There are a couple of ingredients that contribute to the success of Erhard’s comedy routine. First and foremost, he invites the audience to laugh at him. After all, Paco points out, no matter what bad things Americans have done, “we Germans have done far worse.”

From Carson to Letterman to the Jimmy of your choice, great stand-up comics have known for decades that people are far more willing to laugh at others than themselves. So Paco parades out a litany of German foibles and failings … although he proudly touts a number of Germany’s  successes, such as four Formula 1 racing championships, 12 World Cup soccer championships “and first runner-up in two world wars.”

The second ingredient in Erhard’s recipe for mouth-watering comedy is to get the audience to laugh at other countries who exhibit America’s own failings and (dare I say it?) fascist tendencies. Like Canada, the home of those boring Americans that God has placed in storage in Earth’s northern freezer. Or the Brits, who have their own immigration problems with welfare-fraudster Romanians that Germany shunted to England. [This is obviously an inside joke that will be explained when you see the show.]

But Erhard does have plenty to say about what we could be doing a little bit better. After being away for 30 years, he can’t help but notice that we’ve let ourselves go a little bit. I mean, whether you ask a liberal or a right wing conservative, most Americans will freely admit that the country’s going in the wrong direction and badly needs a mid-course correction.

But Second Amendment lovers fear not! Paco does not want American to solve its gun and health care woes. Guns lie at the heart of all good American movies and television shows. If we ban guns and provide free health care (including mental health) to everyone, we’d be depriving the entire world of the programming they’ve come to expect from U.S. television and screenwriters. Oh? They’re on strike? Don’t let anyone know.

While Erhard slays a number of sacred cows, he doesn’t mount a frontal attack on some of our more notorious political figures. However, Paco does take issue with the American promise that any child can grow up to be president.

“No, no, NO,” Paco chides. “There are some kids that parents should never say this to.”

Some kids should just go into medicine or sports or real estate.

“And stay there.”

While it was not possible last night for Paco to elucidate and solve every problem that tears at the fabric of American democracy, he did come up with a sure-fire, no-fail solution to racism in all its many forms. I’m afraid you’ll have to see the show to find out what his prescription entails. [Hint: Pfizer and Eli Lilly should be sponsoring  this show.]

Remaining shows are tonight at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday (June 4) at 4:00 p.m.

June 3, 2023.


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