The Belfast Telegraph

Heard the one about the racist black comedian?

Stand-up comedy, or “le one-man-show”, is all the rage in Paris these days. (Riots are not the only show in town.) One of the most talented, and popular, French comedians of his generation, Dieudonné, is launching a new season at his cosy, scruffy little theatre, the Théatre de la Main-d’Or, near the Bastille.

22 March 2006
When the curtain rises, he is greeted with roars and whoops by a packed, multi-racial audience, which is young, trendy, intellectual and left-wing. Many of them have come straight from the latest demonstration against the government’s new jobs law for the young.

Much of Dieudonné’s show – “Le Depot du Bilan” (The Bankruptcy) – is surreally funny. A bored bureaucrat from a government welfare agency for threatened animal species is interviewing a distraught rhinoceros. “Wouldn’t you consider getting rid of that horn? Horns don’t go down so well these days. You have to adapt to survive…” Eventually, the rhinoceros falls through the floor.

All through the show, however, something else intrudes