Monday, April 29, 2013

Four thousand blacks, some coloureds and a parking machine

A fair case could be made for the show being called Coloureds Mainly, since a solid
slice of the performers were culturally coloured but ay. The audience at the Sandton
Convention Centre is as black as the Orlando Pirates fanbase, if rather better-heeled.
Clearly David Kau’s Blacks Only comedy showcase makes for a good date-night
solution, as the punters stream in and out in twos like this is some Noah’s Ark for black

There is a bar and I saw my friend Jeremy with a boerie roll, so clearly someone
was selling those, but we went with the cigarette outside option at half time. They were
also selling validated parking tickets for R35 – a surcharge of 250% on the R10 charge at
Mandela Square to avoid the ludicrous paystation queue. I climbed over a security gate
and was in and out in three minutes.

A couple of cats followed me over the gate, “Ah! The man with the rasta plan,” they gasped in admiration. “We’ve lived this before,” I muttered as I paid the parking machine. We rule these Sandton streets. Well, these corridors of Sandton City.

All this entirely peripheral to the comedy show itself. We roll in late and breathless, but certainly not alone in that. We’ve been watching the Kings get a reaming of clinical savagery from the Bulls.

This fifth-floor hall of the Convention Centre seems 80 per cent full, as Mr Kau does a bit of a Caster Semenya impression. We can’t find our exact seats, but fuck it. Here are two vacant ones here.

Now it’s Jason Goliath, who spots a guy in the audience rocking red jeans with brown shoes. “You look like you’re on Khumbul’ekhaya, my broe.” As the audience-cam reveals, the guy does a bit, and dude promptly becomes a point of ridicule for every
subsequent comic.

To his credit, he takes it quite well.

Goliath relives some highlights of his school days, like earning the nickname,
“The Renovator” and taking on that bladdy Michael Fong in the school tennis finals.
He’s a natural, this Jason Goliath. He gets you on his side, he’s fresh and he gives
the impression he could kill a longer set, or a one-man show. Filthy one about farting in
the car and we’re back to the MC.

He intro’s the comedy institution that is Marc Lottering to see out the first half.
Lottering is a bit like the Ready D of comedy. We’ve known he’s still in the game, but
haven’t actually seen him perform in about a decade.

Lottering's still got his chops, dropping some observations the Joburg audience instantly
identifies with, like the buskers at the Rosebank paystation. Rhyming Chad le Clos with
“ja ma se po!” is less successful, but his delivery is so relentless it hardly matters.

Marc's stream-of-consciousness schtick is more flow than rhythm, it just
keeps coming at you. So if there’s one that doesn’t hit, the next one’ll be with you in ten
seconds and you’re sure to like that.

Like the one about checking people’s rejection slips when they flounce off from
the ATM without cash. Nicely. And… it’s intermission, for a beer, a boerie or a twak on
the pavement, as you wish.

Other side of the break, Chester Missing is there with his foil, ventriloquist and super-ego to his id, Conrad Koch. If Lottering is the master of comfortable mainstream hilarity, the Missing-Koch show rollerblades across the cliff-edge of political defamation, let alone correctness.

Missing drops a great one about albinos being the only whites that never benefited from apartheid and from there it only gets edgier.

To be fair, Koch satirises himself by acknowledging accusations that his “coloured” puppet’s unfiltered rantings are a type of blackface. But that doesn’t make the outbursts any easier to deal with – or less hilarious.

There’s a “Fuck Zuma” in there, one about Lindiwe and a Tourette’s episode of N-words and K-bombs. Which is all pretty brave, coming as it does from the barely moving lips of a white comic in front of a massive audience of blacks.

Still, he gets a standing ovation from at least half the house. The best I’ve seen him.

Next is newcomer Dylan Oliphant, who delivers his take on the Steven Wright-style one-liner approach. The material is great, even if the format, rhythm and delivery are a tad monotonous. It’s challenging jokes you need to concentrate on – particularly if you had three beers during the Kings game. Olifant hardly moves, leaning on the mic stand in his Man U top, but at least we know he hates xenophobia just as much as he hates Nigerians.

More Kau, then. He keeps the vibe upbeat with his edgiest material of the night, about pomping after childbirth, and then we’re on to the headliner.

Isaac Gampu is a proper black guy, from Vosloorus. He does the kind of stuff Blacks Only made its name with – spot-on vernac impressions of township life. In those days it was by Trevor Noah, Loyiso Gola and Eugene Khoza. Now Isaac Gampu is on the mic.

His stuff about weaves, yellow rice and your show-off Xhosa uncle are deadly accurate, and this is exactly what tonight’s audience has come to see. They erupt with joy as he acts out some shagging, spadework with football commentary and going to those churches that sell tickets on Computicket.

Another ovation for Mr Gampu, thanks, and we’re out of there on a high. No mess, no fuss, everybody happy. Except the poor suckers who gotta queue for an hour to pay parking.

This piece first appeared on Mahala.

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