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A better laugh for all in Zulu comedy show

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TO Sifiso nene1

ChilliPix

Sifiso Nene

She stands behind a black podium, a colourful patterned doek on her head and a glittering black jacket that has patches of kente cloth under the lapel. She clears her throat, greets all “ladies and gentlemen, Members of Parliament… skhothanes and pantsulas”, before she goes into a lengthy speech announcing her intention to run for president.

She is Nkosazana Zoomang – not to be confused with former Minister of Health Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

Zoomang is satirical and the funny brainchild of comedian Celeste Ntuli, who is one of the headliners of 99% Zulu Comedy Show, which takes place at the Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City on March 7 and 8.

The show’s theme is “A Better Laugh For All” – sound familiar? – and although Zoomang may not be making it on to that stage with Celeste, there’s no doubt that there will be plenty of laughs at the expense of some of our politicians.

“Political analysis or jokes about politics are obviously about who is in power,” says Ntuli. “But I’m more about the social side. Politics doesn’t interest me much, as I gravitate towards social issues. But I know that (political) things are going to pop up in my set.

“There’s also the obvious things, like talking about Bafana, but whenever I do shows where there is a long line-up, I try to not talk about what everyone else has already talked about. I like to stay different.”

TO Skhumba-Hlophe

Skhumba Hlope

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Although, as the name of the show suggests, the main language that will be used on the night is Zulu, the comedians come in different shapes and funnies.

Expect to see the likes of Skhumba Hlope, Sifiso Nene and Simphiwe Shembe at the Joburg show, and Tips (aka Shampoo), Mpukane and others at the Durban leg of the event on February 14.

Durban is actually where it all started back in 2005. Now the show travels to Mbombela (formerly Nelspruit) and Witbank regularly, and there are plans to take it to Bloemfontein this year.

The show’s founder, Monwabisi Grootboom, says: “We started out in Durban, and sometimes we have the shows at the ICC, but we always sell out at the Playhouse.”

He continues: “We’re also the only comedy brand that takes residence in provinces in a sustainable manner.

“There’s also Blacks Only, but it’s primarily based in Joburg. It’ll travel one time to Durban, and another time to Cape Town, but not regularly.”

Like Blacks Only – which was devised by David Kau – 99% Zulu Comedy Show has themed shows.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Grootboom says the Durban show will task comedians with writing material around love and relationships. “It’s also an election year,” he explains, “so, with the Joburg show being so close to voting time, it’s fitting that we should make that the theme.”

Politicians are never safe when it comes to comedy. Just recently, Whacked – the company co-owned by comedian John Vlismas, and which organises the annual Comic’s Choice Awards – created the Mass Hysteria travelling comedy show, which turns a group of stand-up comedians into a kind of parliament all of its own.

Obviously, a person’s vote is their secret, but that’s when it comes to electing a government that has the best interests of the nation at heart. What about when it comes to comedy? Who would you pick for president?

Grootboom lets out a belly laugh and, without a second thought, says he would give Skhumba his vote. “Just for being random and crazy… he’s really unpredictable.”

 

• Don’t miss 99% Zulu Comedy Show on February 14 at the Playhouse in Durban at 8pm. It then heads to the Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City on March 7 and 8 at 8pm. Tickets at Computicket.

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