Orlando Fringe 2022 review: '5-Step Guide to Being German'

Stand-up comic Paco Erhard gives a crash course in his fatherland’s political and cultural history.

Taking to the flag-draped stage to angry heavy metal music, comic Paco Erhard starts the stand-up act he’s taken around the world by delivering jokes about invading Poland in an alienating, aggressive accent, letting the audience know right up front exactly what kind of a politically incorrect show they are in for.

During his press preview, Erhard was still making some adjustments to his set for Orlando audiences, since references to famous German sex criminals and Greek unemployment rates don’t always translate, but his observations about optimistic Americans blissfully unburdened by knowledge landed to explosive laughter. I found especially fascinating his disorienting feelings of identity dislocation caused by swinging from being seen as probable Nazis to beacons of the free world in only six years — thank you, Trump — especially in light of the current war in Ukraine.

While giving Floridians a crash course in his fatherland’s political and cultural history, Erhard explodes the stereotype that being German is not something that’s meant to be enjoyed with his fast-paced hour of international humor. (And on behalf of my fellow Jews, we officially absolve him from being unnecessarily paranoid about accidentally sending Hitler emojis.) One final warning: Erhard’s title is a lie, so don’t come expecting five steps; if that bothers you, you’re probably anal enough to already be German.

Tickets and show info: 5-Step Guide to Being German

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