Entertainment / Arts And Books

Sandisiwe Mbhele
Lifestyle Journalist
5 minute read
28 Oct 2021
4:05 pm

Much-needed comedic relief with Alan Committie’s new stand-up show

Sandisiwe Mbhele

Alan Committie's new stand-up show at Montecasino Theatre will bring the funny on how to stay sane during Covid-19 times.

Comedian Alan Committie. Picture: Supplied

Stand-up comedy always makes the worst situations seem like nothing too serious, and seasoned comedian Alan Committie’s playful show is back at the Montecasino Theatre in Johannesburg.

It’s the perfect time to have a night out for some laughter because honestly, we all need it.

Committie has a new solo standup titled Apocolaughs Now! and he is promising a comic exploration of some of your favourite streaming shows and the current times.

The Citizen’s Q&A with Alan Committie:

Question: As a stand-up comedian, obviously it must be great being back onstage but has your style of comedy and performance changed over the last 19 months?

Answer: It’s absolutely brilliant being back in front of a live crowd again. I definitely don’t take audiences for granted anymore. There is something so spectacularly energising and healing to be connected through laughter and energy

As for my actual performance style, I think not much has changed in terms of preparation or style but the underlying joy and urgency have been turned up a notch.

Q: Your solo show, Apocolaughs Now!, at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre, will touch on many current topics but how did you keep afloat during the doom and gloom?

A: I was fortunate in that this pandemic struck at a moment in my career when I have a strong, well-established support base. The fans were superb in supporting online experiments, social media postings and, more recently, hybrid events in the corporate world.

But make no mistake, like everyone else, there were some very dark, unpleasant times in the last 18 months as we dealt with the unexpected.

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Q: You will explore the health craze and how to remain sound in your mind and soul in Apocolaughs Now! But practically speaking, how have you done this?

A: I learned to stop putting so much pressure on myself, allow myself to have moments of rest or moments of grief in relation to my industry – which felt like it was completely decimated at times.

I oscillated between hustling and hibernating… occasionally at the same time!

Comedian Alan Committie. Picture: Supplied

Q: What can audiences expect from the limited three-week run of the show?

A: A high-energy, theatrical and comic exploration of this post-apocalyptic world we now inhabit and a light look at how we now navigate what lies ahead. As always with my shows, there are some sketches, a one-man version of the dance extravaganza Stomp, me trying to perform The Crown in a way that will never be shown on any streaming service and some home truths about yoga!

Q: Are there any current social media trends you won’t be jumping onto, any time soon? Such as TikTok dances, Instagram Reels etc?

A: Never say never! I’m currently (can we still say currently with all this load shedding???) [perfecting] my brand-new year-end show which will come to Jozi early in 2022 and I am exploring doing some TikTok dancing – what a time to be alive!

Q: As a comedian, Covid-19 must have been a gold mine of content. What were the best topics to get the most jokes from and use on stage?

A: It was actually much harder than you would imagine simply because everyone was living through the experience in realtime. And we all had time to read all the comments, memes and jokes on social media platforms etc.

So my challenge for this show was to reflect a little of what we went through but also to find a new angle and perspective on these events and still make it very funny.

I am happy to report that having performed this show in Cape Town for 30-odd performances, we seem to have been successful. I am very excited to share this show with Joburg and its brilliant crowds.

Q: In a climate where some comedians feel like they walking on eggshells because of ‘cancel culture’, do you share the same fear?

A: I honestly believe that any topic is fair game for a comic treatment as long as you are able to interrogate your attitude, perspective and context in which you are placing the material. In other words, with a little bit of extra work, you can find a comic angle on almost anything.

Personally, I feel my job as a comic is not to shock or teach but primarily to entertain and bring joy. Any other side effect, like making an audience see something from a fresh perspective or feel something about a topic they had not done before, is purely a bonus.

Follow up: Are there any jokes that are ever off limits to you?

A: I might have certain topics or areas that don’t appeal to me but that doesn’t mean no one can make jokes about them. When writing material, you always start with the premise “does this make me laugh? Do I think this is funny?” That is how a comedian develops their particular comic sensibility and provides a rudder or template for their brand of humour.

Q: Virtual comedy shows, are they here to stay?

A: Maybe hybrid shows will. The ability to mix a live crowd with people who are geographically unable to be at a venue or event and allow that group to join virtually is very appealing. That certainly opens up possibilities for conferences, international audiences etc.

But I would argue strongly that nothing beats a live face-to-face comedy experience. The connection of a community of people united in giggles and guffaws is [a] balm for the soul and good for the endorphins.

Alan Committie’s Apocolaughs Now! at the Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre runs from 28 October to 14 November. Performances are from Wednesday to Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 5pm and 8pm and Sunday at 3pm.

Tickets cost R220 at Theatre Box Office and Computicket.