Tag Archives: Baxter Theatre

Nando’s Comedy Festival

1 Sep

Disclaimer: This review has been written by a prude who is proud of her brain!

Trevor Noah

Americans are loud, brash people. A generalisation yes, but one that enforced itself at the opening of this year’s Nando’s comedy festival. I was amazed at how different American humour is to the rest of the world’s : aggressive, loud and focused on sex. That being said Trevor Noah (South African comic extraordinaire – duh!) and Dave Thornton (Australian) stole the show for me, by showing that a sharp wit and insight are far funnier than the F-word and sex.

Ian Bagg was the formidable American MC of the event (though I’m sure I heard some “oots” and “aboots”). He rushes off his lines like an auctioneer or a boxing commentator and is focused on the audience. He clearly was not impressed by South Africans as he kept saying, “oops, I’ve gone too far.” I thought comedians are meant to be quick, but he kept making the same mistakes – rape and paedophile jokes are just not funny in South Africa. His funniest moments were those when he wasn’t trying to be funny – not knowing what M-net was he asked people if they had “an M-Net”. Oh dear. Well done to the sponsors for letting their starts know about their company! He popped up between each act and in the end I could tell he just wanted to go home!

Next up was Bobby Lee who clearly suffers from small man syndrome. He is loud, obnoxious and focused on his small pecker.  His style of comedy is classic stand-up, running from joke set to joke set. He was funny about his typically Korean father, but otherwise, again with the sex and the F-word. Seriously? Are we not more intelligent than this? His funniest jokes were when he turned to self-deprecation, which I suppose is why I enjoy British humour so much more than American, as self-deprecation is at its core.

After Bobby Lee I could breathe a sigh of relief as our own wonder boy of comedy, Trevor Noah, bounded to the stage. What I love about Trevor Noah is that he is funny because he is observant, up-to-date, politically relevant and clean. He definitely plays on racial stereotypes, but South African audiences are so comfortable with this and he offends all racial groups equally. His accents are fantastic and really get to the essence of whichever race was being mocked at the time. I will definitely make an effort to see Trevor Noah again.

Mo Mandell, another American, was next and started out pretty well. His humour was mostly focused on being Jewish. When he made some sex jokes at least he picked up on the fact that “South Africans are racist but don’t have sex!” My problem with this statement is that it missed the point. Yes, South Africans laugh at racial and ethnic jokes (now mostly when they’re told by a person of said race/ethnicity) and yes, we are more conservative than many nations about sex, but why is that a problem? Aren’t comedians meant to adapt? If your whole act hinges on one aspect of life, you’re not going to appeal to the broader audience.

Dave ThorntonEnter Dave Thornton – Yay for the land down under (I know, I’m a South African and I’m cheering for an Aussie – shock!). Dave Thornton once again proved that wit and insight are king. His gentle manner of delivery and self-deprecating humour trumped any of the American acts. The odd sex joke and swear word came up, but coupled with his style of humour and mixed in a range of topic, these jokes actually were funny and not a bombardment.  

Orny Adams ended the show. At last, an American comedian with something else to talk about! Orny Adams certainly got himself worked up on stage, but his keen look at modern life, including obese children, texting and products made for real belly laughing. He certainly made the best one-liner of the night: “This generation is so fat, the next war will be fought over cooking oil!” Classic. His age was also key to his set and, though I’m still pretty young, these were some of his funniest cracks.

The comedy festival really did provide me with some good laughs, but it definitely showed me I need to appreciate our local comedians far more. It also proved how uncomfortable I am about sex in the public domain, which is something I freely admit. If you are more like my friends than me, you will surely roll with laughter. Just don’t take your little brother or mom.

Nando’s Comedy Festival: Baxter Theatre, Rondebosch, Main Arena. 31 August -19 September. 8pm Mondays-Saturdays, 6pm Sundays, special 10.30 pm shows on Friday & Saturday 17-18 September.R120-150. Tickets through Computicket or at the Baxter Theatre