Welsh comedians 'exporting humour' to Oslo in Norway!
There’s no business like ‘snow business’ for South Wales comedians Ignacio Lopez and Simon Emanuel.
They are jetting off this week to the snow-covered Norwegian capital of Oslo with a mission to export their own brand of Welsh humour.
The duo are paying a welcome return visit to The Oslo Comedy Club for three shows from Friday, February 21.
“As comedians, we love a challenge,” said Swansea-based Ignacio.
“We’ve been to Norway before and we’ve been delighted to find that our brand of humour does travel well!”
The break into the Norway scene came after Simon found himself on the English language comedy scene in Scandinavia when he went to visit a friend.
"I saw there were English language clubs and got in touch with a few bookers to get some stage time. Before long I was the resident compere at The Oslo Comedy Club, which is a miniature theatre below a British bar called The Dirty Cow."
Simon kept up the momentum by inviting fellow comedians from Wales to come and test their material on a foreign audience.
Ignacio Lopez, fellow member of the stand-up collective known as Comedy Sheep, was flown over several times and proved to be a hit.
Spanish-born Ignacio said: "I may originally be from Spain but my humour definitely comes from the Welsh in me. Humour in Wales is such an inclusive thing. It's a perfect example of how warm the Welsh are. The Welsh will laugh about anything and that's beautiful, whether it's a guy on a horse trying to order a drive-through burger or a cage-fighter in drag turned vigilante on a night out drinking.
“You've got to have a sense of humour living here in Wales. There's some of the best beaches in the world around Wales and it's perpetually raining! Work that out."
Simon agrees the reason for their success abroad is down to their Welsh roots.
"The Welsh are just easy going people. We get along with everyone unless the rugby's on, and even then it's harmless fun. Ignacio and I grew up on the Welsh circuit together, we're both completely different acts but we make each other laugh and help each other out. That's the Welsh way.
"Ignacio's material is really sharp in a typically dry, Welsh way but he delivers it with a Spanish perspective and that's unique. Plus he's got these brilliant comedy songs to go with his stand-up that make his act almost universal. Of all the acts I invited over, Ignacio's jokes seemed to make the locals laugh the most."
Ignacio thinks Simon has a knack for winning over new audiences.
"Simon's got this great manic energy onstage that really draws people in. In Wales I think that people are used to him by now since he won the Welsh Unsigned Stand-up Award, but he's still surprising people abroad.
“His physicality almost makes him funny without uttering a word and that slapstick quality is what's made him a hit. You could put him on any stage in the world and know he's going to be hilarious."
Following a highly successful tour of Welsh theatres and clubs with Comedy Sheep, Ignacio and Simon are hoping to take their humour even further afield, with shows now planned in Spain, Holland, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland.
About Simon Emanuel
Simon Emanuel is a Welsh stand up comic who is working live all over the UK and Europe.
Since taking up comedy in 2008, Simon has had a successful live career working with some of the biggest names in comedy and appearing at most of the top clubs nationally and internationally.
He is the regular comedian for the Christian church Kings Cross in South Wales, where family material is a must.
In 2013, Simon was part of the Cardiff Comedy Festival and was awarded the Welsh Unsigned Stand Up of the year award. He was then selected to support Alan Davies on the final day of the festival at the prestigious Cardiff Millennium Centre.
Ignacio Lopez is billed as 'Half Spanish, Half Welsh, All Funny.'
The 25-year-old lives in Swansea. Lopez was chosen from thousands of comedians to appear on ITV's ‘Show me the Funny’, hosted by Jason Manford.
He said: “Although I didn't do too well in the competition it’s really made me appreciate how much better comedy can be ‘live’. I wasn't my best on the TV show but part of that was how it was edited. The attraction of being a comedian is that you are the only person responsible for what you say on stage. You write and perform your own material and it’s up to you to deliver the goods.”