13 July 2012 | BRUCE DENNILL
SHOW: Comics’ Choice Awards 2012 - But kudos to the organisers – in terms of its production values, Tuesday’s gong-fest was nearly the equal of its predecessor, and still some distance ahead of most of its equivalents in other areas of the entertainment industry.
VENUE: Teatro, Montecasino
If it fell short, it was due to the challenging theme of the evening – “The Colour Of Funny”, a reference to South Africa’s continuing challenges regarding racism, tackled in a variety of ways in throughout the show. Most direct – it hit on that theme and several others, including the need for comics to, essentially, embrace the “work harder if you want to get further” philosophy, rather than relying on outside influences – was John Vlismas’s opening monologue.
Accompanied by a DJ, a violinist and a rock guitarist, Vlismas, dressed up as Charlie Chaplin circa The Great Dictator but looking rather more like the subject of that satirical film, Adolf Hitler, delivered an eloquent diatribe.
This entertained while also, crucially, exposing all the topics and perspectives that need to be discussed and debated, but which are generally swept under the carpet because, frankly, nobody has the grit to engage with them.
Similarly hard-hitting, though some of the references involved may have been missed by much of the audience, was a satire of the British television game show Never Mind The Buzzcocks called, er, Never Mind The Black C*cks.
“Presented” by Al Prodgers and featuring a team of black comedians and a team of coloured comedians, the skit, again, gave voice to thoughts that many South Africans think but can’t say without getting fired or fined.
On a lighter note, there were good sets from Dillan Oliphant and Mpho “Popps” Modikoane, and a very funny, Steve Jobs-satirising presentation by David Levinsohn, detailing how to succeed as a comic in South Africa (crucial question to be asked before each decision: “What Would Riaad Moosa Do?”).
Alyn Adams, winner of the The Times Comic’s Pen Award (apostrophe correctly placed, note) managed to include most of the plot of Hamlet in his acceptance speech, which ultimately underlined one important fact: in feudal society, where the word of the king was law, the court jester – the only professional comic around at the time – was the only person in the kingdom who could criticise his monarch, provided he couched his opinions in a joke. A shrewd observation...
In that regard, more power to all involved with these awards – the organisers and the comics whose work is being recognised.
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