We need some laughter again and stand-up comedy is the way

Comedian Skhumba will perform his show called Skhumba’s Weekend Comedy Special 2021 next weekend at the Market Theatre in Newtown.

By Edward Tsumele, CITYLIFE/ARTS Editor

Comedy has over the years taken off in a spectacular fashion in South Africa. While all along there has been some great comedy shows in South Africa, but often performing for an elite market in exclusive venues and in underground venues,  in the mid 2000, this art form took off on a grand scale, and was no long the preserve of a few elites in society with elitist tastes in entertainment, performing in exclusive venues, such as a few intimate small theatres and underground, and often dodgy looking venues only a few in the underground got to know about. Instead it suddenly became a popular art form accessed by all and sundry.

I remember well, for example, in the early days of comedy in the early 2000, how after having a few drinks in the bar upstairs of the then popular Cool Runnings in Melville, how I would find myself shuffling down the stars into the UnderGround Comedy Club run by comedy legend John Vlismas, where he would invite other comedians like David Kau, Kagiso Lediga and others, to perform stand up comedy to a close knit and mainly elitist but loyal crowd.

But there were risks associated with walking in when these guys were on stage, such as I used to do, because they would change the script suddenly and you are a target of their comedy, an embarrassing situation for the victim. I personally have been a victim of these guys’ jokes a couple of times at the Cool Running Underground Comedy Club. But I did not care, and in any case, who would care getting a few jabs from these guys after having a few drinks anyway and after that enjoy some great comedy. We simply liked it that way.

But that was the time when comedy was still slowly taking off, where late comers like me would be welcome anyway in the middle of the show, except that you would be the subject of ridicule from these guys, something that would not last, because soon after that jab, you would be comfortably settled, and before you know it, the comedians were back to their prepared script for the night’s show.

But that was exactly the point of the comedy of that time. It was raw, spontaneous and unsanitised.

But then sooner comedy started to become mainstream, as people like Kau took it to television with the hugely successful SABC TV comedy show Pure Monate, for example., and suddenly it was entertainment for the masses. And as it were, sooner than later, Kau started his hugely successful comedy series Blacks Only that always sold out huge venues. By this time, stand up comedy was a fully-blown mainstream art form in South Africa competing well with other entertainment offerings on the performance calendar, such as music festivals, TV soapies and movies. Guys such as Trevor Noah, who is currently probably South Africa’s biggest entertainment export to the US as host of the popular Daily Show, were at the starting point of their careers.

Sooner other names in stand up comedy, such as Tumi Morake, Eugene Khoza, David Kibuku, Celeste Ntuli and others became popular entertainers, and suddenly arts lovers could have a wider choice of their kind of mainstream entertainment, such as watching a soapie at home, going to theatre to watch a play, going to a club to dance to a DJ on the deck’s selection of tunes, or going to watch stand-up comedy.

And what makes comedy such a particularly lovely art form, is the fact that comedians seem to get away with a lot of saying things that other art forms would not be able to express without consequences. For example, stand up comedians can make fun of a politician without being harassed. But get a musician to release a song making fun of a powerful politician or an influential businessman, or get a an author writing an uncomplimentary thesis about the shenanigans of a particular dodgy politician, well, you can be sure that hell will break loose.

But in stand-up comedy, how many times have you been to a comedy show, and these dodgy politicians are torn apart by the comedians, and in some cases in their presence, but they just laugh it off, just like other audience members as if what the comedian would have just said about them is not true? In other words, comedians have more artistic license to express themselves without consequences, than the other art forms. This is the beauty of comedy. But then Covid-19 happened in 2020, and with that performance art, suffered tremendously, including stand-up comedy.

But now that Covid-19 restrictions have been relaxed, allowing a reasonable maximum number of audience members into venues, there is hope in the air that comedy will once again have a leeway to find a way around these restrictions and happen again.  We need some comic relief. In fact it is starting to happen.

Popular Comedian Skhumba Hlophe goes to The Market Theatrefor an exclusive debut of his Comedy  Ensemble for the 1st time in 2021. This time with a crazy weekend special dubbed,Skhumba Weekend Special, and this is probably the relief that some people have been looking for, just to forget for a moment about the burden of the coronavirus that is still with us and poses danger to our social and economic life, as well as our existence.

Thursday 30 September – Saturday 2 October2021,get on board and join us for a spectacular weekend of hilarious fun and plenty of moments that will have you falling off your chair.TheBrand-Newshow is featuring some of Skhumba’s comedian friends.

Skhumba took his  successful tour dubbed Big Banger Comedy around the country, from June 2019 to February 2020. This tour included some already established Comedians and some unknown and it received great support by his followers and comedy consumers. This Weekend Comedy Special will be nothing short of spectacular  and LIT!!! like the tour.

Another performance reminder where comedy finds a home in theatre. Skhumba’s journey in comedy is like the Market Theatre celebrating 45 years having catered to a diverse audience. His show aims to cater to a variety of audience as the comedians will deliver their material in English, Xhosa,Zulu,Sotho,Tswana, Pedi & Afrikaans,” says the Market Theatre in its marketing material for the show.

Skhumba’s2019 careerhighlights

Skhumba Hlophe had a massively successful Original Show on Showmax, called Trippin’ With Skhumba. The show aired on the pay per view channel in February. It featured 6 of his close Comedian friends where they explore their hometowns.

His Walk This WayWheelchair campaign ,close to his heart, had to be put on hold because of the GLOBAL pandemic that continues to cause havoc across the globe. 500 wheelchairs have been donated around Gauteng since 2016.

Skhumba still rips people with laughter on his new and improved radio show, which he co-hosts with Thomas Msengana, on Kaya FM show every weekday from 06h00-09h00.

Tickets are R200 and available from all www.webticket.co.za& Pick ‘n Pay outlets.

All shows will start at 18h30.

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