The 10 best ... emerging comics

2013-11-17 14:00

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Jeanette Chabalala and Siyabonga Sithole ask established stand-up comedians Tumi Morake and Eugene Khoza to whip out their crystal balls and identify up-and-coming funnymen and women on their radar

1 Monique Nortje

She never planned to become a comedian, but was pushed into the industry by a friend who entered her for an open mic competition, and before she could go “haha”, she was part of the comedy industry.

Nortje hails from Brakpan on Gauteng’s East Rand and studied drama at the University of Pretoria.

She is an accomplished actress, voice-over artist and TV show writer. She has graced the stages of The Lyric theatre and the State Theatre.

2. Angel Campey. 

She found a stand-up comedy mic for the first time in June 2011. Campey graduated with an honours degree in film and media studies from the University of Cape Town.

Now she co-hosts 2 Girls 1 Mic and a radio show on 2oceansvibe Radio with Kamini Pather, the winner of this year’s MasterChef SA.

To date, Campey has appeared at Jou Ma Se Comedy Club in Cape Town. She describes herself on Twitter as a “Stand-up comedian.

Award-winning writer (in Grade 2, for handwriting). Lover of irony and shoes (irony not ironing. Has creased clothes)”.

Campey continues to make her mark on comedy stages and has performed at festivals including Rocking The Daisies, Synergy Live, Rock The River and Up The Creek.

3 Khanyisa Bunu. 

A former school teacher-turned-comedian, she quit the classroom five years ago to pursue a career in comedy.

The Eastern Cape-born Bunu left her hometown Whittlesea in 2008 for Joburg to pursue the funny business. She entered the reality-TV contest So You Think You’re Funny and made it to the top six. Bunu has been performing ever since and her star keeps rising.

Early this year, she was nominated in the Savanna Audience Choice category at the Comic Choice Awards.

She is clearly not afraid of taking chances having left her permanent and stable job to launch herself as a comedian. Her material is irreverent and defies stereotypes.

4 Zakkiya Khan. 

After attending one of John Vlismas’ shows, Khan was inspired to take up stand-up comedy as a career and has been honing her skill ever since.

The 26-year-old from Moregloed in Pretoria is an ardent Gautrain traveller and lover of food and fashion.

In fact, she won audiences over when she scooped the first heat of the Comedy Central talent search by making jokes about her experiences on the Gautrain.

It’s her child-like demeanour with candid, hard-hitting humour that makes her a favourite at comedy events.

5 Anele Mdoda. 

Sure, her name is familiar thanks to her career in radio and Strictly Come Dancing on TV, but Mdoda is quietly carving her way into the comedy big leagues.

Her raucous laughter is the stuff of radio legend,so comedy must have been with her all along.

Earlier this year, she got feminists baying for her blood when she featured in Bitches with fellow female comedians Tumi Morake and Tracy Klass.

It was a combination of sketch and stand-up comedy. Mdoda has already shared the stage with David Kau, Barry Hilton, Mark Banks, Riaad Moosa, John Vlismas, prankster Darren Simpson and many others. Last year, she was part of The Roast of Steve Hofmeyr.

6 Simmi Areff. 

Areff is a Wits Journalism School graduate and a rising star of South African comedy. He recently found himself in trouble with the SA National Halaal Authority (Sanha) because of his satirical use of its logo.

He later replaced the word “halaal” with “HAHA-laal” and rewrote the organisation’s acronym as “Simmi Areff National HAHA-laal Authority” for his shows.

This obviously didn’t go down well with Sanha. Areff continues to make a name for himself with his Strictly Makrooh, a one-man show that debuts on November 22 at The Joburg Theatre.

7 Skhumba Hlophe. 

The funnyman from Tembisa on Gauteng’s East Rand was one of Nubreed Comedy’s Young Gunz who appeared at the Soweto Comedy Festival in 2010.

He also featured in the first ever Stand-Up Zulu Festival at The Playhouse Company in Durban in 2011.

Hlophe starred in David Kau’s hit feature film, Taxi Ride, as Dlamini. His kasi-flavoured brand of comedy is based on general observations of life.

He makes light of his weight and women’s weight issues. The rising star appeared as the resident comedian on SABC1’s Mzansi Insider last year.

8 Mojak Lehoko. 

He began performing in 2009 at Cool Runnings in Melville, Joburg. Lehoko’s comedy could be regarded as observational and unstructured, with an ability to identify humour in even the most “awful” of circumstances.

His ability to adapt to diverse audiences has allowed him to perform at comedy clubs across South Africa. Lehoko recently had a one-man show titled How Did I Get Here? He has also featured on Late Nite News With Loyiso Gola on etv, poking fun at politicians.

9 Lazola Gola. 

The Cape Town native relocated to Joburg to follow in his famous brother and fellow comedian Loyiso Gola’s footsteps.

Lazola started his comedy career in high school and he is now making all the right noises in the comedy circuit. His hysterical, unique views on everyday life have seen him opening for some of South Africa’s top comedians such as Trevor Noah, Eugene Khoza, David Kibuuka and Stuart Taylor.

He performs regularly at Gold Reef City, Montecasino and the State Theatre in Pretoria.

Lazola’s set is sometimes punctuated by a dance, and his funny poker face gets the audience laughing before he even utters a word.

10 Tats Nkonzo. 

With a disarming boyish charm, the comedian with a guitar rose to prominence with his brand of observational comedy.

After studying advertising for three years, Nkonzo entered the competition So You Think You’re Funny as a challenge to himself and came in at number eight.

He is the host of SA’s Got Talent on etv and also strums his guitar giving the morale index on Late Nite News with Loyiso Gola on Thursdays.

He now has three years of progressive performances to his credit. Nkonzo staged his debut one-man show, Can’t Tats This, in his home town of East London and has collaborated with Nik Rabinowitz.

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