Top comedians star

2009-10-08 00:00

ON A stage littered with international comedy it was a South African homeboy who wowed the crowds at the Nando’s Durban Comedy Festival at the iZulu Theatre at Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom on Tuesday night.

Trevor Noah, fresh from playing to sold-out houses at the Lyric ­Theatre at Gold Reef City Casino in ­Johannesburg, had the audience in the palm of his hand from the moment he stepped on stage.

This young comedian’s rise in the local comedy ranks in the past three years has been nothing short of meteoric. In that time he has performed at the Cape Town International ­Comedy Festival, the Vodacom Funny Festival, the Jozi Comedy Festival, and the Blacks Only Comedy Show among others.

On Tuesday, the audience was treated to his views on African National Congress Youth League president Julius Malema; his difficulties understanding Cape ­Coloureds, and his concern that ­President Jacob ­Zuma wasn’t turning out to be as ­crazy as he and the ­country’s other comedians had hoped for.

Noah is a keen observer of life, with a razor-sharp wit, and unlike many comics doesn’t depend on four-letter expletives for a laugh.

His performance, which, sadly, was too short, was like a luscious dessert following several courses of tasty comedy from host Angelo ­Tsarouchas from Canada, Uganda’s David ­Kibuuka, Australian Kitty Flanagan, ­Londoner Simon Clayton and the wonderfully named Ahmed Ahmed from Egypt.

Larger than life actor and comedian, Tsarouchas — known to his many fans as “Big Ang” — had the audience in stitches with his in-your-face style of comedy.

He revealed he was mistaken for Meatloaf in Scotland, is considered thin in his adopted home in the United States, and found himself in hot water when he tried a bit of humour at ­Australian passport control.

“I gave my passport to an official and he looked at me and said: ‘Do you have a criminal record?’. I replied: ‘I didn’t think you needed one of those to get in here anymore’,” the comedian said.

Clayton, from London, was another hit with the audience thanks to ­comments such as “I know I can pass for the love child of Winnie ­Mandela and P. W. Botha” in reference to his mixed-race looks, and “I haven’t seen fashion like that since the Dukes of Hazzard,” about the ­audience at a comedy show in Brakpan.

Rounding out the evening’s talent were Ahmed, a regular at The Comedy Store in Hollywood, who told the audience it was tough being from the Middle East these days especially when it came to flying anywhere; ­Kibuuka, whose comedy is extremely witty and intelligent; and Flanagan, whose keen sense of the ridiculous had me in stitches.

Also worthy of praise was a beat boxer, known only as George, whose vocal abilities are nothing short of ­astounding. Make sure you see him and the rest of this comedic dream team before the festival ends on Sunday.

The Nando’s Durban Comedy Festival is at the Sibaya ­Casino and Entertainment Centre’s iZulu Theatre until October 11. Tickets, priced from R80 to R120, can be bought at Computicket.

• For more information and for show updates visit www.comedyfestival.co.za

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