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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

THE COMEDY REVOLUTION (article first published : 2008-07-15)

Fans of Stand-Up Comedy have a feast in store for them. Visit the Catalina Theatre for "The Comedy Revolution" currently at the Catalina Theatre, Wilson’s Wharf, where you will be treated to three international acts and six of South Africa’s finest comedians.

The host of the show and MC is Martin Evans, winner of numerous new-act awards in the UK and who is now based in Cape Town where he promotes various comedy clubs and shows. The other international acts featured are Glen Bo, a recent nominee in the KZN Arts Awards in the “Best Comedian” category and after years abroad touring runs comedy shows and clubs in KZN and Martin Davis out from the UK, a stand-up veteran and legend abroad.

Stand-up comedians work to a formula, establishing a rapport with the audience by chatting to them, asking individuals their names, what they do and generally using the answers to establish their comedic routines, often taking the mickey out of them, or anything else they can use. By their nature the performers must be very extrovert. Martin Evans fits the bill and he kept the audience in stitches, arousing them to applause to welcome the others on the bill. He covered many topics such as smoking and sport, particularly cricket. His take on the sexual innuendoes in a radio commentary of a cricket match raised many laughs, as did his running gag on the use of dope. Good as he is, his use of that four letter word is unnecessary and not funny. Why must stand-up comedians resort to this? I did like his reference apropos an IT member of the audience to IT being porn distribution.

Each night these international comedians will be joined by one of the new South African comedians chosen from Brendan Murry from Cape Town, Marty Kintu from Johannesburg, or Simmi Areff, Lil Paul or Jan Badenhorst, all from KwaZulu-Natal.

Next up on the bill on the night I went was Simmi Areff. I have seen him in several Westville Theatre Club shows where he is a very talented actor and singer. He is a law student and his comedy routine is pleasant, notable as being without swearing, and covered Muslims, him being one, and TV programmes. He ended his routine with a delightful song.

As the MC, Martin Evans took the stage again, entertained the audience with more laughs and then introduced Glen Bo. The Bluff came in for much hilarious comment, as well as Richards Bay, named Retard Bay by Glen Bo, and he also made much of what women look for in men and how they judged that men who were good on the dance floor would be good in bed. Mugabe and Nataniël and his cooking show came in for much ribbing. Glen Bo's performance needs to be more focused.

After the interval the MC continued his routine, expounding on his love for the Afrikaans people, their soap operas and their music. The audience loved him as he bounced around the stage. He then introduced the headline act, Martin Davis.

Martin Davis is the epitome of a stand-up comedian. Every second word is that four letter word and he pounced on members of the audience - not all that well, having difficulty in remembering one woman's name. He started his act expounding how he hates good looking woman, and giving his reason. He relies on toilet humour and early morning erections, much of his humour involving rubbing his crotch. Martin Davis is a Cockney and used the Cockney's rhyming slang to refer to the American in the audience as Septic Tank (Yank). I liked his mentioning that baseball is actually "rounders". At one time he commented "Do you get the impression that I'm enjoying this show more than you are?" and I'm afraid it was a case of many a true word being spoken in jest. His use of that four letter word was gratuitous in the extreme and totally degrading, to him and to the audience. He repeated a line ad nauseam which eventually ceases to be funny. He kept on losing focus - maybe it's his way of obtaining rapport with the audience as he has to ask them about what he was talking. This also palls as does his frequent corpse-ing and he does tend to ramble on. The audience, however, loved him, and his take on male sperm and male erogenous zones.

If Stand-Up comedy is your forte, dash to the Catalina Theatre, Wilson's Wharf, from July 10 to 20 2008 at 20h00 on Tuesday to Saturday and Sunday at 18h00 (no show on Monday). For more information or to book, contact the Catalina Theatre on 031 305 6889 or via www.strictlytickets.com – Maurice Kort




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