The Cambridge Geek

Olga Koch: Fight

Back to stand-up, this time with Olga Koch, a Russian-born, US-graduated comedian, here to tell us a little of her family history. Specifically, the story of the day in 2014 when her father disappeared in the night.

See, her father is a rather important man, Alfred Koch having been a deputy prime minister under Yeltsin, and a signficant part of the voucher privatization of Russia. (Yes, I did find myself googling things a lot after listening to this, how did you know? That's actually quite a good sign. Koch makes this potentially fairly dense history of Russian politics interesting enough that I had to do some digging through wikipedia.)

This is a pretty whistle-stop tour of the Russian Empire, Republic, Soviet Union, Federation and Putin's Russia. (If you want another, more nerdy tour, try the Complete History of the Soviet Union, Arranged to the Melody of Tetris.) Woven throughout it all is her personal history, which is surprisingly intertwined, especially given that, by her own admission, her father is partly responsible for the whole problem of oligarchs Russia now has.

Still, she's not going to let this get her down, and her style has a pleasing energy that you might think would be somewhat counter to the sombre subject matter. There's an unexpected flashing of Putin, a brutal opinion of Swan Lake, and a Russian Doll joke that unfortunately wasn't hidden inside a slightly bigger Russian Doll joke. But there's also some nice poking at the clash between Russia's progressiveness and regressiveness. (One of the first countries to give women a vote. In a single party state.)

Also an excellent amount of time donated to straight up punnery and wordplay, which I always appreciate. Give it a listen.

Score 5

Tagged: Radio Comedy Monologue Stand-up Autobiographical