‘Humor protects me’ says Marion Holm


Gasping for breath and wiping away the tears while laughing yourself up, sounds exactly like an experience you would have in a Marion Holm show. However, this queen of comedy has a quiet, withdrawn side and often uses her sharp sense of humor as a shield.

Comedians are icebergs, Marion tells RNews, what you see is never the full picture. The most beautiful mountain peak is seen from above, but just below the surface hides a gigantic rock carved from the deepest, darkest and often saddest ice.

“People who are funny, and whose being funny comes right from their souls, often use humor as a shield,” she says.

She admits that it took years to become fully comfortable with the fact that she is actually supposed to make people laugh.

Marion was definitely not the biggest prankster at school, she was a quiet and withdrawn child who scared herself into a bully for anyone who noticed her. Her sharp, humorous tongue did click here and there in her growing up years, she says, but it was simply as a protection mechanism. And so humor became her shield, always at hand and always faithful.

Yet today she knows that this shield of humor is her greatest asset, because if there is one thing that people cannot get enough of, it is to laugh.

Laugh more than before

“Scientific and physiological value is attached to laughter. From your immunity to your mental health improves when you laugh regularly,” she says. “I don’t care what comedy you’re going to watch, but now is the time to do it.”

Although South Africans often laugh at themselves and the circumstances in which they find themselves, these days it is becoming increasingly difficult not to shed a tear along with the laughter.

People are plunged into the darkness of load shedding and omnipresent crime, and humor, Marion believes, is one of the few things that truly offers comfort.

“Fortune has an emotional impact that we don’t want to talk about, the crime has an influence on our mood. We have to with all that stuff deal.

“We have always been a nation that could laugh, especially at ourselves. At the moment, there is so little for us to laugh about and our nerves are so frayed, that we have to enlist a little help from other people to make us laugh. We simply have to start looking at ourselves.”

This is precisely why Marion encourages people to experience theater in its entirety, from the deepest, heaviest dramas to light-hearted, uplifting comedies.

“The theater landscape needs everything to make it full. There is no more room for elitism.”

Laughter is life’s best plaster

For better or worse, theater must go on. Many times in her life, in the midst of deep personal grief, Marion had to enter the stage to entertain people. Even when her parents died, she had to put aside her personal life to act.

Yet she does not regret the humorous moments in times of her grief. In fact, it was her faithful shield of humor that carried her through it.

“Every sport has its injuries, it’s just ours now. To make people laugh is a privilege and a joy for me,” she says.

Marion suffers from the autoimmune disease fibromyalgia, which often causes her to experience excruciating body pain for days on end. Yet her pain does not hinder her. She belongs on stage, in the middle of an audience whose laughter echoes all around her.

“If I was rich and just stayed in my bed without working, I would be incredibly depressed. I have to get up, I have to be on stage, because within five minutes that audience gave me so much joy that I can only say ‘thank you dear Father that I had to get up today’.”

Marion Holm with ‘Marion Holm’

Earlier this month, Marion made a visit to Momentum Beleggings Aardklop with her solo piece, Marion Holmmade.

This piece was actually already written at the time in 2020, but it only recently really started to see the light of day. It was initially a piece that delved deeper into who Marion is, and why she is today the joke that South Africans love so much. However, the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic put a damper on her plans to debut the show at the KKNK.

She admits that she fell into a black pit during that period, and that one thing became crystal clear to her: Humor is all people need now.

Shortly after that Holmruggerya compilation of 16 years of shows, hit the shelves before she resumed Marion Holm started planing. This performance was planed and sanded to such an extent that all dark, deeper parts remained in the battle.

“You always only see one part of me, but there’s more. Here is one side of the story – it is very funny, and then another side which is not so funny. But that’s me too.

“Now I’ve taken those bits away, but I still call the show Marion Holm so that I can remember the name of the piece – I forget everything,” she says in her characteristic joking manner.

At home in her own company

Although Marion is known today as a comedian who effortlessly makes people laugh, she admits that there are parts of her growing up that have stayed with her.

In many ways she is still that young girl who longs for peace and quiet. Today she knows that she was created to make people laugh, but also that she is perfectly content to be in the silence of her own thoughts.

For her, comedy is not at all complicated, there are few things in life that flow as naturally as a group of people laughing together.

“I am not sitting and designing the world’s most impressive atomic bomb. I just make you laugh. What a privilege is that?”

  • For more information on where to see Marion Holm next, visit her website.