Entertainment / Arts And Books

Theresa Taylor
2 minute read
28 Aug 2013
9:00 am

Celebrating the Art of Funny

Theresa Taylor

Men dressed as security guards dropped from the ceiling and began fighting rebels in hoodies. The smashing of their sticks across the men's skulls and the blood splatters along the back wall of the stage were no laughing matter.

Picture by Jayvir Pillay

But this was the opening to the 3rd Annual Comic’s Choice Awards, a night which brings together SA’s comics to recognise and award some of its own.

The opening sequence echoed the night’s theme – The Art Of Funny – which played on social justice, as well as humour. Comedians voted for their peers to win the night’s prizes, with only one award, the Savanna Audience Choice Award, being open to public vote.

Jahmil Qubeka, Joe Mafela and Anele Ndoda were amongst those handing out awards. Mpho Popps Modikoane joked that he was “as speechless as an ANN7 presenter” in front of the crowd when he accepted his award for BlackBerry Breakthrough Act Award.

Schalk Bezuidenhout won the Waldo (the equivalent of the Oscar for South African comedy) in the Savanna Newcomer award category and the young, quirkily dressed Afrikaner had the crowd in stitches as he described telephone conversations with his mom and her ongoing belief that he was the best comic in the world.

 

Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah

 

The comics and the awards were interspersed with little bits of drama and skits. The audience was entertained by two rather strange clowns playing odd little instruments. There was a video of Evita Bezuidenhout dressed as a French revolutionary singing a cabaret to Jacob Zuma.

One of the biggest highlights, though, was a counselling session between a white rhino patient and a black rhino psychologist. The piece played on the rhino’s paranoia about being killed, racial differences and “white fear”.

Trevor Noah (above) was awarded The Comic’s Choice Comic of the Year Award once again, but was unable to attend due to health reasons. Barry Hilton was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. He said he had been in comedy for 30 years and still loved it as if it was day one.

Zambezi News was the award show’s international act, “reporting” from the Zimbabwe elections – and Kagiso Lediga received The Times Comic’s Pen Award.

Many young comics came to the event from around the country and they used not only the night, but the entire weekend, as a networking opportunity. Johannesburg audiences were thus able to catch different unknown acts they wouldn’t ordinarily see.