There are few local events I look forward to as much as I look forward to each and every Comedy Knights instalment. Uproariously funny and devastatingly blunt, they warm the cockles of my mostly shrivelled, blackened heart with their insightful jabs at everything they deem to be wrong with our little speck of land in the Mediterranean.
I’m not going to lie: the past year has been trying in many ways. Social media may be to blame for our constant access to news, real or fake, from all over the world, however, the fact is that 2018 was generally characterised by a steady dribble of at most times unbelievable manure.
From President Donald Trump showing us exactly why anyone over the age of 60 should think twice before using Twitter to the incredible, exponential growth spurt in the uglification of our fair country, every day brought with it some form of fresh hell and it was somewhat comforting to see all this and much more being addressed in Let’s talk about six!
If there’s one line that characterised Malta in 2018, it was definitely ‘U Iva, Mhux Xorta’. And, after having written about this phenomenon a handful of times in my own weekly column, it was gratifying to see that I wasn’t the only one to see this disregard for others and the law go from strength to strength.
Whether it’s parking your car in the middle of the road and inconveniencing every single person sharing the road with you or carrying out obvious illegalities with barely the flicker of an eyelid, 2018 was the year where apparently no one cared. Another sketch I found equally on point, albeit sadly so, was the one about the ‘Maltese Landlord’. Chantelle Micallef Grimaud played the affable, confused foreigner to perfection. And Chris Dingli perfectly pulled off the part of the Maltese landlord ready and waiting to fleece you for every last cent you have without actually offering much in return.
In true Comedy Knights style, the political jibes were also extremely timely and relevant
The long line of people coming out of the foreigner’s cupboard was a dark reminder of how many people are living in reduced, inhumane circumstances thanks to the greed of others.
Always on the ball when it comes to some of the less savoury characteristics of many of the Maltese, ‘London Town’ and ‘The Supermarket’ were love letters to those cliched members of the middle class who complain about Malta and then spend their London holidays in Primark, and all those who shop from Lidl but are ashamed to say so.
Jo Caruana and Thomas Camilleri always manage to play the Sliema parents with a disappointing child to absolute perfection and this year was no different in their ‘Christmas Pageant’ sketch.
I can honestly no longer think of Camilleri without picturing him looking at Caruana and saying: “We must bear the shame.” Equally interesting to watch was ‘The Balluta Boys: Beppe’s Choice’, which once again brought to light the still very much apparent divide between Malta’s north and south – a divide found hard to believe by everyone who hasn’t been born and raised in it.
In true Comedy Knights style, the political jibes were also extremely timely and relevant: ‘Where’s Your Proof?’ highlighted the neon pink elephant in the room when it comes to many Maltese choosing to dismiss the obvious in order for it to fit in with their own personal narrative.
‘Razzle Dazzle’ served as another reminder of how much has been pointedly ignored in the last year because people were too busy removing glitter from their eyes.
As always, Pia Zammit shone brightly in her role as Mixall, a role which I know many look forward to her reprising year after year because of how well she pulls it off.
Indeed, while 2017 was the year of shock and confusion, 2018 didn’t bring about the changes that I think many people said they wished for but didn’t always actively pursue. In addition to this, many also got tired and desensitised because there has been little reprieve from bad news.
For me, productions like this one are a reminder that there are still people out there willing to carry a small flame of humour and civic duty through objectively darker times. If laughter be the food of growth, parry on.