Comedian Conrad Koch brings puppets to Fringe Festival

Conrad Koch and friends.
Conrad Koch and friends.

THERE is not a huge ventriloquism scene in South Africa but that did not stop Conrad Koch pursuing it as a hobby when he was a child.

“Stand up comedy only really kicked in after apartheid, for obvious reasons,” Koch said.

“So I was the only ventriloquist on the scene in the wave of new South African comedy.”

It was while studying at university that Cape Town-based Koch came up with his cantankerous but very likeable and funny main puppet character Chester Missing, who has his own TV show Almost News with Chester Missing.

“Chester Missing is a product of a Master’s degree in social anthropology, as pretentious as that sounds,” he said.

“He was born as a way to humorously unpack the politics of race, class and gender in post-apartheid South Africa.

“Chester Missing gets to say things nobody else in the South African scene can.

“He’s also very politically aware and he’s a puppet; a puppet who has interviewed the president. He’s the little guy speaking back to power.”

Koch was last in Perth in September at the Comedy Lounge and returns for his first Fringe World with Puppet Guy, featuring Chester Missing, an outrageous ostrich, Mosquito and DJ Hoodie, who actually DJs.

He also chooses someone out of the crowd and uses high-tech ventriloquism masks to turn them into a lion who wants to hunt everybody.

“This show is an hour of all-out fun with puppets, for big people,” Koch said.

“There’s a bit of social commentary and whole lot of very funny ventriloquism.

“My comedy friends have told me how amazing Fringe World is. I am really looking forward to sharing this completely different show with awesome Australian audiences.”

THE ESSENTIALS
What: Puppet Guy
Where: Circus Theatre, Fringe Centre and Shack at Leapfrogs, Wanneroo
When: January 18 to 26
Tickets: www.fringeworld.com.au