Three-course show

2013-11-21 00:00

AFTER spending the past few years as part of the Bafunny Bafunny comedy team, veteran comedian Mark Banks is having fun presenting his new one-man show, Banksrupt!.

“There are so many comedians around now that when you’re part of a line-up, you sometimes don’t get near the mic ... and it sometimes feels like being part of a buffet.

“With this show, I get to provide the starter, main course and the dessert,” says Banks, who has been performing his brand of political satire and madcap comedy for 25 years.

In his latest show — which is on at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College campus until Sunday — nothing and no one is sacred.

Banks pokes fun at everything, from the Durban street-name changes to Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, school setworks, the Zapiro cartoon that upset many in the Hindu community, fireworks and the way banks charge for every single transaction.

Drawing his inspiration from what he hears and reads in the media and his own experiences, Banks says the show is different now from what it was when he began touring Bankrupt! in January.

“I’ve done it in Port Elizabeth, East London and Cape Town.

“It changes and mutates as it goes, and I keep it topical with events in the news. Things happen so quickly now that the whole show can change in a day,” he says.

Talking about the title of the show, Banks explains that Bankrupt! reflects his view that as a nation, South Africa is financially, morally and mentally bankrupt.

“I want to sketch out the villains behind this sorry state we’re in, obviously with a tongue-in-cheek flavour to keep it interesting,” says Banks.

He certainly succeeds, thanks to a mix of hilarious stand-up and sketch comedy.

In the latter, he brings to life a range of characters — a straight-faced SABC news reader who never misses a beat, no matter how odd the item he’s reading, a car guard with a tale of woe, an irritating beauty product salesperson in a mall, and a Durban tour agent who is trying to sell “adventure” tours in Durban. The choices on offer include ghost tours at the city’s Point Road waterfront, the chance to be mugged on the beach front and a hijacking experience on the Berea.

Now considered something of a “grand dowager uncle” in South African comedy circles, Banks — who has played to audiences at the Royal Albert Hall and the legendary Hammersmith Apollo in London — has created a very funny show.

If you like biting satire and quick-fire comedy, then don’t miss Banksrupt! at the Sneddon.

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