Phumlani S Langa took in the roast of Khanyi Mbau and reveals what you are likely not to see in the broadcast.
This past Thursday, The Teatro at Montecasino played host to the roast of Khanyi Mbau, which you will be able to watch on Showmax on August 8.
The theme had something to do with glam, yet there we were at one of the least glamorous places in Johannesburg. Montecasino’s fake sky seems to have been partly distorted, what with those damn chem trails and all.
Roast culture has no respect for the traditions of the theatre. Theatregoers will tell you that, when a show is scheduled to start at a certain time, it does exactly that. Not with this drivel. People milled around the foyer, more concerned with getting a buzz on. You could not blame them, as a few libations helped make the nonsense more tolerable.
In the crowd were many famous people, like DJ Zinhle, who posed for images but snubbed everyone in the media when it came to commenting. Not sure why she was at the roast when we haven’t heard a full project from her for so long…
The show itself relied on the same formula as every other roast. Schalk Bezuidenhout provided an excellent set as the crowd-warmer and Mpho Popps handled the roast master duties.
The crowd was peppered with talented comedians such as Mojak Lehoko, Nina Hastie, Loyiso Gola and Celeste Ntuli, who was on the roasting panel as well, and they all probably helped shape the jokes you will hear.
Again, you can expect a lot of lewd stuff about vaginas and, naturally, everybody was on Mbau’s case regarding her skin bleaching. She and media personality Selbeyonce Mkhize were easy targets.
It was weird, however, as Mbau appeared to be more shielded than Mhlongo or AKA were during their roasts. She was visibly bothered by some of the comments she received, but everyone used most of their time to send up the other panellists. There is a lot of work to do in post-production before you see this and the end result will be a polished programme designed to trend on the day of its release.
The truth about Mbau’s roast
You will also be unable to fully comprehend the reception Sello Maake kaNcube got as he approached the podium. A massive roar filled the amphitheatre. There were, however, some murmurs in the crowd, such as: “What’s Archie Moroka doing here?” – obviously uttered in ignorance.
How quickly we forget that Ncube cut his teeth on the theatre stages of South Africa. He proceeded to run down his credentials in comparison with people like Nadia Nakai – who had a decent enough offering on the day – and Popps, who Ncube says did the popular TV drama Ayeye, whereas he did Woza Albert!, the seminal play.
Ncube dismantled everyone on that stage, but with class and the steady hand of a seasoned theatre practitioner, which was pretty much what the occasion required.
The top-tier talents of Ntuli and John Vlismas were also something to behold. Those two need standalone specials immediately: Showmax should fund that and stop trying to copy and ram American trends down our throats. Vlismas and Ntuli gave their contributions like gladiators stepping into the Colosseum, trailing a fraternity of artists behind them, and representing local comics perfectly and honestly. Nobody had an answer for them. They did not even take that much heat, probably because they were feared.
Rapper Youngsta CPT was also on the roast panel and he represented much like his fellow rapper, Nakai. Rap is just an elaborate act, so some of these people could go on to do feature films and the like. Not all, mind you. Only some.
Youngsta was ever the consummate performer, but it was odd that he and Mbau only met for the first time that evening. We always figured that a roast involved people who shared a connection with the guest of honour. Then again, after Youngsta’s last album, he probably needs some positive press.
She had walked the red carpet earlier in the evening and was a vision in a sleek, shimmering ballgown, but then she changed into an odd, apparently WWE-inspired tracksuit situation.
It had enlarged sleeves, which gave it (and her) a disproportionate look. On the carpet, she mentioned that she had not really practised her set. And she added something about not needing to practise to fight anyone. The logic of it failed her – and it really showed.
She delivered about two feeble punchlines about Selbeyonce having a vagina – what a shame that some of the writers of these jokes need help – and lost the crowd entirely. The show had already dragged on for far too long for some and the roads were calling. So, at the beginning of her set, rows of people headed for the exits when they realised that she was about as good as T-Bo Touch, who was also dismal to watch.
Be sure to look out for Devi Sankaree Govender’s contributions to the evening, and let us all hope the end product will be shorter than it was in reality.