In the performance ‘At home I almost never speak’, Arends only insults animals

Somewhere halfway God is my judge Daniël Arends (42) confronts his audience with his own behavior when he imitates them in an infantile voice: “Nice to Daniël Arends tonight.” A tease. Being offended at Arends, who is touring with two different stand-up comedy shows in the evening, is definitely an option. He provides sufficient ammunition for this through his many improvisations with the audience in the front rows. But whether you actually feel offended is really up to you, according to the Arends philosophy. To him, joking with someone is a sign that you are taking them seriously.

As a playful protest against the current observed touch, Arends announces I almost never speak at home only to insult animals. It does not quite work, but it is true that, among other things, zebras, sheep and elephants are hit in jokes, where their appearance is mocked. It’s a smart idea: Arends asks with the innocent jokes a question where the answer is already so embedded that one can hardly believe it is wrong anymore: Have we as human beings not gone a little crazy in feeling offended?

I almost never speak at home is a urdissection of the awake culture. A move with many valid points, but it bothers Arends if someone retrieves his entire identity from feeling hurt: Just because you feel that way (read: offended) does not necessarily mean you are right. Arends is ruthless when he discovers sincerity or hypocrisy: You can not judge others on sustainability and even have a bunch of children, he believes. “It’s like kicking a panda in the balls and then joining the World Wildlife Fund.”

Also read: Between the relentless jokes, Daniël Arends philosophizes about aging

Iron timing

God is my judge is a little less strong, and Arends is often dependent on tried and tested success songs, such as imitations of Asians and putting on a childish voice when he finds something infantile. It usually still works, but the Stone Age did not end because it ran out of stones. Fortunately, Arends cannot be offended. His story, however, is stimulating about how everyone is constantly busy giving the impression that they are doing something useful: For fear of disapproving glances, we deceive ourselves en masse. Let us not make sense where it is not there at all, our presence on earth means little, says Arends. It is this attitude to life from which his characteristically absurd humor springs, and with which Arends is at his best. What would he do with a ton? Airbnb a house for a year, get it transformed into a maze of forty identical rooms and the owner waits in the middle, dressed as an Asian philosopher.

An evening in Arends is full of absurdities like this that become hilarious thanks to his iron timing. Both shows find each other in Arends’ ideas about the difference between inside and out: For God’s sake, let’s look beyond the facades, it makes life more real and better. The image that hangs on after two rich performances is of a faithful nihilist. His work does not matter either, says Arends, as he puts his ‘raised cabaret finger’ to rest for a while: He is the last to preach. Yet he does more than just delimit the emptiness, Arends gets full halls to realize in an extremely witty way that inspiration and pleasure can be found in total perspective. Then you do not do it all for nothing as a comedian.

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