Sandisiwe Mbhele

By Sandisiwe Mbhele

UX Content Writer

Joburg comedy festival returns right on time

As the country battles with fuel hikes, a pending world war and an ongoing pandemic, many of us need some sort of comedic relief and the Johannesburg International Comedy Festival (JICF) is just on time.

Local comedians are doing what they do best; finding comedic and funny moments during the toughest times and the Johannesburg International Comedy Festival (JICF) is back just in time.

As the country battles with fuel hikes, a pending world war and an ongoing pandemic, many of us need some sort of comedic relief and (JICF) founder Takunda Bimha says the festival will continue featuring one of the best comedy lineups this year. 

During a question-and-answer session with The Citizen, Bimha gave more details on the Johannesburg International Comedy Festival (JICF) happening this week. 

Q&A with Takunda Bimha, founder of The Johannesburg International Comedy Festival (JICF)

Question: When the decision was made to do a mini JICF last year, was it in hopes to have the full comedy festival in 2022?

Answer: By late last year, the comedy industry had gone for almost two years with very little in the form of live stand-up being performed anywhere. We managed to secure some funding from the Department of Arts and Culture and decided to put together a small festival that would provide some comic relief to bring some levity and laughter to talent and audiences given all the dark and tough times that we had all been experiencing.

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It was incredibly well-received and served to show that the industry and audiences alike are raring to get back to live comedy again.

Q: Could you tell us about the comedy lineup, we see some of our favourite stand-up acts such as Jason Goliath, Chris Forrest, Tats Nkonzo and Mpho Popps.

Can you give us the thought process of choosing some of these acts and the younger comedians, who we may not be aware of?

A: JICF has always been a proud celebration of the rich tapestry of stand-up comedy that we have in South Africa. So when we put together lineups of local acts – we always want to make sure that all types of different styles and forms of stand up are represented. That diversity is always represented in the manner in which we curate the shows. 

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To this end – we are very honoured and privileged to have the department of arts and culture as one of our main funders for the festival and would like to believe that this is a ringing endorsement of what the property does for the industry.

Q: The JICF is in partnership with SABC2, will the shows be aired on the broadcaster?

A: Yes, there will be five shows from the festival that will be shot and packaged for broadcast on SABC 2. This is very exciting for us because it means through them as a partner, we are able to take the content from the festival and have it beamed to a broader audience all over the country beyond just our in-person patrons in Johannesburg. It really does expand our footprint in a very significant way, a great development for our growing festival. 

The Johannesburg International Comedy Festival (JICF) will occur at the Maslow Hotel in Sandton and the Theatre on The Square from Thursday, 24 March to Tuesday, 29 March. A limited amount of tickets are left.

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