The ‘pretty, witty and titty’ Comedy Knights of Malta

Following the success of their debut show last year, we speak to the cast and director of the variety act ‘The Comedy Knights: 12 Months of Funny’, which will once again serve as an adult, satirical alternative to panto this Christmas season.

Chris Dingli (centre), Colin Fitz, Jo Caruana and Pia Zammit performing in last year’s edition of The Comedy Knights
Chris Dingli (centre), Colin Fitz, Jo Caruana and Pia Zammit performing in last year’s edition of The Comedy Knights

How would you describe this show to a ‘newbie’?

Chris Dingli: It’s an original, topical, satirical sketch show that pokes fun at the year gone past. It’s fun, funny and purely for adults.

Marc Cabourdin:  Fast, fun and laugh out loud.

Pia Zammit: Fast and furious. No, wait. That’s Chris Dingli. Except he’s not fast. And quite relaxed. I’m furious though – about so many things. We’re ‘Pretty, Witty and Titty’.

Colin Fitz: It’s a live comedy sketch show... it’s not a panto and it doesn’t have a story running through it... it’s just a series of hilarious skits and songs poking fun at life, love, and the Maltese way of doing things.

Thomas Camilleri: I am a newbie. Please feel free to describe it to me after you come watch the show.

Wesley Ellul (producer): It’s a hilarious look at uniqueness of our lovely little island told through sketches and song.

What made last year’s show so successful?

CD: We had Malta’s top comedic writing and performing talent doing what they do best – making people laugh at the expense of local politics, personalities and habits.

MC: We were topical, fresh and avoided fluff.

PZ:  It’s always fun to laugh at the establishment and it’s even funner if we throw in bad jokes, puns, scantily clad women, and catchy showtunes!

CF: Word spread quickly that we had a strong show – we were six funny people who each had their strengths – some of which unsurpassed in the Maltese islands. Some of the team have incredible singing voices, others have great comic timing and others still have a knack for imitation. Meanwhile, the writing was pretty strong too... we tackled many then current topics in an original way.

TC:  Being good enough to rope me into this year’s.

WE: People knew I was involved – it was a sure fire hit… but seriously, it’s because we dared to be different. We tried things others haven’t and we had fantastic chemistry on stage. Once people pointed out that the actors were having fun... well, it was just infectious. Oh, and people enjoyed seeing a sketch show in English: that was completely original!

Do you think you appeal to a particular demographic and – dare we say it, given the satirical edge to the show – voting base?

MC: One thing is for sure, we are playing for the Sliema, St Julian’s, Tal-Ibraag demographic... whatever that means nowadays...

CD: ... and that’s not entirely by accident. As for voting base, I can't really say but then again, who can?

CF: Which may due with the fact that we’re the only sketch show in English!

WE: In fact, may people last year compared us to Bla Kondixin – only it was more relatable to the ‘Sliema crowd’!

Last year you had the general elections as fodder. Was it harder to find viable material this year?

PZ: Have you opened a newspaper? This week alone has provided enough fodder for a whole season of prime-time programmes on NBC, BBC and HBO. But having said that, I don’t actually write any of it. Ha!

TC:  The elections were the appetiser. So much has happened since then it’s about time for the main course.

WE: I actually think we spent more time trimming the material, then looking for it, as so much happened! MEP Elections, Legless Bronze horses, people pouring ice buckets on themselves, and drivers with bad aim, are just some I can think of off the top of my head.

How do you think satire has evolved in Malta over last couple of years? Why do you think stand-up comedy (and variations thereof) seem to have blossomed recently?

CD: Maltese audiences have always enjoyed satire. We might be seeing a resurgence of its popularity. I’m not sure why...

MC: I think the delivery and medium that has changed, becoming more versatile and sophisticated. If until a few years ago you had one or two shows that would whet the appetite of an audience, today comedians and satirists have developed more of a niche approach, depending on the audience they are targeting.

PZ:  I personally see satire is a form of protest, you know. So we’re flipping the bird at the authorities while sitting on a whoopie cushion.

TC: Most comedy in Malta tends to be dumbed down and slap-stick (please refer to any compere ever at the Maltasong competition) but stand-up and satire are definitely on the up.

CF:  I think stand-up comedy only needed a little push from someone with belief and young enough to have faith that it would work, to bring together the right people to get it going. I think the reason the offshoot took place a couple of years ago is that the generation of comedy enthusiasts brought up on a wide variety of international comedy at the click of a button on their computers, decided that it should also be done in Malta – and they were not restrained by the doubts and misgivings the older generations (of which I am part) had. So a couple of people started a comedy night featuring local comedians at Hard Rock Bar... the night was a success... and it grew and spread from there.

Any future plans?

CD: Six seasons and a movie.

MC: With the help of our Chinese investors we hope to take Europe by storm.

WE: Many... and 2015 will be seeing a new musical on the way, along with a series of plays, some new pieces and an old audience favourite... and hopefully a third installment of the Comedy Knights!

The Comedy Knights: 12 Months of Funny will be performed at Teatru Salesjan, Sliema. Tickets start from €10 and include complimentary parking. Bookings:

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