Christmas comedy crew hits the Salesian stage

We speak to Marc Cabourdin, Wesley Ellul and Chris Dingli as they prep for The Christmas Comedy Cavalcade: a brand new live sketch act which will debut at the Teatru Salesjan, Sliema from Boxing Day.

From left: Chris Dingli, Steve Hili, Pia Zammit, Colin Fitz. Bottom: Marc Cabourdin and… erm… Kte Middleton…
From left: Chris Dingli, Steve Hili, Pia Zammit, Colin Fitz. Bottom: Marc Cabourdin and… erm… Kte Middleton…

What led to the creation of this event? What kind of discussions did you have, while you were brainstorming about it?

Wesley Ellul: It all started in a dream that included a kangaroo which was playing the djembe...

Chris Dingli: We wanted to do something that showcased the talents of some of Malta's best comedy writers. We also thought that it would be fun to do something sketch-based, original and topical.

Marc Cabourdin: I would love to be able to tell you that we had some massive Eureka moment, or that some cataclysmic epiphany descended upon us. Truth is it was a very organic process, as in one thing led to another and here we are.

How will the show differ from [previous equivalent by Dingli, Ellul and also Malcolm Galea] Dingle Bells, and also from the plethora of stand-up comedy shows we've had a chance to experience locally?

CD: It's a bigger show than Dingle Bells, in terms of it having more people involved. The biggest difference is that this is scripted and rehearsed, whereas Dingle Bells was mostly improvised. This is also not a stand up comedy show, it's a bunch of funny scenes played by a bunch of funny actors.

Will the show have a 'sketch show' structure? What were some of your main influences while planning the general feel of the show?

CD: Newsrevue (the world's longest running live comedy sketch show, updated every week in London) was mentioned early on, but as hardly anyone writing or performing in our show has seen it, its influence is fairly limited on our production! The show will have a sketch show feel because that's exactly what it is. I think of it as panto without all the kiddy bits such as the fairytale story and PG baddie. However, each writer has brought their own influences into the writing of the show, and as a result it's quite a mixture of humorous styles.

How did you go about choosing your performers? Did you tailor-make any of the material for them?

WE: This is where we really took on the Saturday Night Live model. All the sketches were tailor-made to the actors... in fact they were part of the process. We had regular writers' meetings with the actors, to throw around ideas, and help build them up. We then let the writers get on with their work, and kept drafting, and re-drafting scripts, to make sure they suit the cast perfectly. And I think the results will show with the belly-aches which will result following the show!

Apart from the sure-fire-hit political and lewd jokes, what kind of humour are you aiming at?

CD: We're really just trying to make people laugh and give people a great time. A sketch show allows us the freedom to just do the fun stuff.

MC: Well, I'd like to think we are going for a sophisticated, adult kind of humour. But with the rest of the team you never really know!

WE: A bit of everything really. Our writers come from different backgrounds, and each have a different outlook on life. We have political satire, slapstick scenes, situation comedy, black comedy, satire, word play sketches. I even threw out an idea for philosophical repartee, between two naked fire jugglers, but the idea was quickly  stamped out by the team.

The Christmas Comedy Cavalcade will run from December 26-30. The other performers include Jo Caruana, Colin Fitz, Pia Zammit and Steve Hili. Tickets from €10 can be booked from