Johannesburg sets the stage for world-class comedy talent

South Africa’s stature in the world of comedy continues its phenomenal rise with the launch of the Johannesburg International Comedy Festival, which takes place over three days from 6-8 November 2015.

Loyiso Gola
Loyiso Gola

The festival is a multi venue, multi show comedy showcase featuring local, continental and international talent performing at the Alexander Theatre, Orbit Jazz Café, Thirteen and the Bannister Hotel in Braamfontein as well as The Market Theatre and Bassline in the Newtown precinct. With 42 comedians scheduled to take part, this will undoubtedly be one of the biggest gatherings of comedy talent ever assembled on the continent!

Over and above that, there will be fringe shows staged at popular Braamfontein venues namely Kitcheners, Great Dane and Anti Establishment that will feature emerging talent in the build up to the festival from 2-4 November.

The Johannesburg International Comedy Festival is built around key concept shows each featuring a great mix of local favourites and specifically chosen international talent as follows:

• Stand Up Africa (Alexander Theatre) – Comedy with Africa’s finest comedians. League of Nations (Alexander Theatre) – Comedy without borders featuring talent from around the world.

• Fire In The Hole (Bannister Hotel Basement) – Comedy with no limits or boundaries, humor that is risky, edgy and politically incorrect.

• Bantu Hour Live (Orbit Jazz Café) – Comedy inspired by the late night talk show format of host, live band, interactive engagement with the comedians and special music guests.

• Live From The 13th Floor (Thirteen) – Comedy that celebrates trailblazing female talent live from Braamfontein’s newest and sexiest venue atop the Neighbourgoods Market.

• Vernac Attack (Bassline Theatre) – Comedy in any of South Africa’s indigenous languages, a previously underground category that is now taking the country by storm.

• Jokenation (Market Theatre) – Jokenation is a global talent search that seeks to find tomorrow’s comedy stars in the US, UK, Continental Europe, Middle East / Asia as well as South Africa.  The best comedian to win this SA final will be flown to Switzerland to go and perform at the Montreux Comedy Festival in December.

The shows will be hosted by an unbelievable spread of comedians that reads like a nominees list at the Comics Choice Awards.  Loyiso Gola, Ndumiso Lindi, John Vlismas, Kagiso Lediga, Tats Nkonzo and Mashabela are included whilst an amazing array of comedians lies in wait to entertain on the various stages.

The local contingent of acts includes the likes of Jason Goliath, Donovan Goliath, Trevor Gumbi, Deep Fried Man, Celeste Nthuli, Stuart Taylor, Loyiso Madinga, Carvin Goldstone, Siya B, Nina Hastie, Smowkey Nyembe, Tracey Lee Oliver – the list of must-see talent is endless!

World class continental talent will be represented by the likes of Salvado [Uganda], Daliso Chaponda [Malawi], Carl Joshua Ncube [Zimbabwe] amongst others. There will also be a diverse array of international talent that’s been carefully curated in the likes of Maureen Langan, Orlando Baxter, Mike Leibowitz from the USA, Francesco de Carlo from Italy, Yacine Belhousse from France and others. The Johannesburg International Comedy Festival will be a true representation of the globalization of the stand up comedy art form.

In a major vote of confidence for comedy in the country, the largest comedy festival in mainland Europe – the Montreux Comedy Festival in Switzerland  – has partnered with prominent South African comedy producers Podium Comedy to form Bimha Productions, which will produce The Johannesburg International Comedy Festival.

Says Festival Director, Takunda Bimha, founder of Podium Comedy, who previously managed Trevor Noah “I have been dreaming about building a world-class international comedy festival in Joburg for some time now and the partnership with Montreux makes it a reality.  Podium changed the face of post-apartheid comedy in South Africa, and moving forward, the intention is to play an even more impactful role in the future of the genre on this continent.”

Added Gregoire Furrer of Montreux Comedy in Sweden ” The Johannesburg International Comedy Festival will put the country firmly on the worldwide comedy map as one of the most important comedy properties in Africa. After 25 years of producing Europe’s biggest comedy festival, we are extremely excited about this new opportunity and the adventure that lies ahead.”

“Its great to be part of a festival that’s an organic extension of the burgeoning subculture of the Johannesburg inner city. In Braamfontein, a creative energy fills the air. It’s a precinct where artists are pushing the boundaries.  Now, this festival does the same, it’s taking us away from the monotony of the big casino venues and plugging us into the heart of the city! This is awesome; we are making history for comedy, for Johannesburg and for Africa…VIVA!!! – Kagiso Lediga – Creative Director

Tickets to the Johannesburg International Comedy Festival go on sale from Friday the 11th of September on, or the Festival Facebook page with prices ranging from R150 to R250.

The Johannesburg International Comedy Festival is produced by Bimha Productions in partnership with the City of Joburg, DISCOP Africa and the Four Seasons Westcliff.

Social links:
Twitter: @JICF_SA
Facebook: Johannesburg International Comedy Festival – JICF
Instagram: JICF_SA
Hashtag: #JICF

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