Kaunda Selisho

By Kaunda Selisho

Journalist


Inside the 2023 Savanna Comics’ Choice Comedy Awards

Everyone at the Savanna Comics' Choice Comedy Awards declared that it was a night to remember. Here's what went down


After a three-year hiatus which gave organisers time to make “lots of changes” and so some hard work behind-the-scenes, the 10th edition of the Savanna Comics’ Choice Comedy Awards returned to announce, honour and celebrate the best of the best among South Africa’s comedy and comedic content creators.

Held at The Galleria in Sandton on Saturday 15 April 2023, comedians, celebrities, and influencers joined comedy-loving fans as everyone went all out, dressing to impress for the “Birthday Black Tie” theme. 

Among the famous faces in attendance were Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp, Pabi Moloi, Nina Hastie, Candice Modiselle, Donald, Mbali Nkosi, Sandile Mahlango, Rob Forbes, Rozanne McKenzie, Chris Forrest, Kim Jayde and more.

Birthday black tie

The theme was chosen to celebrate the fact that 2023 marks the 10th birthday for the Savanna Comics’ Choice Comedy Awards. The major celebration saw camera flashes popping on the red carpet, live DJ sets, world-class production and staging as well as electric performances and unstoppable energy.

Everyone in attendance declared that it was a night to remember. 

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One of the main highlights of the night was the announcement of this year’s 10 winners in addition to a very special show moment to honour the Hall of Fame recipient, Alan Committie.

The 2023 Savanna Comics’ Choice Comedy Awards winners are:

  • Breakthrough Act of the Year Award: Nonto R 
  • Savanna Newcomer Award: Wazi M Kunene
  • Hall of Fame Award: Alan Committie
  • Best Comedy Festival or Show Award: Johannesburg International Comedy Festival
  • Sauce of the Year Award, Presented by Mrs Ball’s: Dillan Oliphant
  • Funny Influencer Content Award: Robby Collins – For the campaign: Pothole FM by Joe Public & Dunlop
  • Funny is Funny Award: King Price – For the campaign: #TestTickles by Freckle
  • UpLIFTing Comedic Content Award, Presented by LIFT: Rory Petzer
  • Best Solo Show Award: Kagiso KG Mokgadi
  • The Joe Mafela Award: Nonto R
  • Comedian of the Year Award: Robby Collins
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A post shared by Comics’ Choice Comedy Awards (@comicschoiceawards)

‘Thank you for the honour’ 

According to those in attendance, the show opened with what seemed like a rather odd, in-flight safety briefing that quickly transformed into an entertaining live dance performance by award-winning, internationally recognised choreographer and DJ, Courtnaé Paul, accompanied by comedian cum dancer, Ambrose Uren.

Even though Alan Committie couldn’t be at the awards on the night as he was performing his show at Montecasino, he accepted his trophy live from stage via video link-up between the two venues. Long-time friend Eddy Cassar presented Alan with his award, who went onto to deliver a heartfelt thanks to the industry for honouring him.

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Each winner also did five minutes of stand-up in place of an acceptance speech, which ensured the audience was kept in stitches. 

Savanna comic choice awards 2023- comedy awards
Savanna Comic Choice Awards 2023 nominees. Picture: Supplied

Presenters included the likes of Carvin H Goldstone, Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp, Tsitsi Chiumya and partner Gina Koffman, James Chomi Ya Jeso, Kim Jayde, Khotso Rams and Angel Campy.

The event was hosted by comedian heavyweight Loyiso Gola, himself a Savanna Comics’ Choice Comedy Awards winner a few times over. Gola carried the show and brought it all together. He closed the show with fellow comedian, Nina Hastie, when they presented the pinnacle of the night, the Comedian of the Year Award.

A surprise show moment saw drag artist sensation, Edó, perform a captivating live-singing piano medley, while “flight attendants” handed out complementary Savanna Ciders and Grumpy Snacks to enthused guests to keep the energy going. 

Meet Waldo

In addition to making their major return, organisers also revealed the refreshed and modernised awards trophy, lovingly called, Waldo. Now lighter and sleeker, it was much easier for the winners to lift their Waldos in celebration.

“The awards exist to celebrate comedians and comedic content creators,” commented Manuela Dias de Deus, producer of the Savanna Comics’ Choice Comedy Awards. 

“It’s about giving back to the industry and really using the awards as a platform to promote and support comedy in all its forms. Most of the awards were presented by previous winners and wherever possible we’ve collaborated and consulted with the industry to make these awards happen.”

Missed it? Watch it here:

Mbali Savanna comic choice awards
Savann Comic Choice Awards, Newcomer nominee Mbali Gubzi. Picture: Supplied

If you didn’t make it to the main awards ceremony or missed the Savanna Newcomer Showcase earlier this year, Me (Channel 115) will broadcast two TV specials to give fans a chance to experience it for the first time, or relive the moments. 

Catch the Savanna Newcomer Showcase on Saturday 6 May at 7pm and the Savanna Comics’ Choice Comedy Awards on Saturday 13 May at 7pm. 

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